This report covers two days, Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 July 2020 which marked days 104 and 105 of the national lockdown declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and has been in place since 30 March 2020 respectively. By Sunday 12 July 2020, confirmed COVID-19 cases had increased to nine hundred and eighty-five (985). The number of cumulative tests done stood at eighty-eight thousand nine hundred and eighty-four (88 984). Of these, eighty-seven thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine (87 999) were negative. The number of recoveries increased to three hundred and twenty-eight (328) and the death toll remained at eighteen (18).
Information contained in this report is derived from the following Forum Members:
- Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
- Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
- Counselling Services Unit (CSU)
- Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)
- Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
The Acting Minister of Health and Child Care Professor Amon Murwira received 1250 COVID-19 kits at Robert Mugabe International Airport from the Republic of China. Each of the kits contains 24 tests. The test kits will help to assist the country fight against COVID-19.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity Mr Nick Mangwana reported that twelve (12) Malawian border jumpers were intercepted by law enforcement officers after they attempted to pass through the country without any documentation. The Malawians are now temporarily quarantined at Mushagashe Quarantine Centre in Masvingo waiting for arrangements to be made for their repatriation.
The Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Edgar Moyo has indicated that his Ministry has started channelling the ZWL350 million it received from Treasury to acquire four million face masks among other materials needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 when schools open on 28 July. Addressing journalists, Deputy Minister Moyo indicated that schools will not buy the face masks but they will be provided for by the government. It was also reported that some schools are already making face masks and the government will buy the face masks from the schools.
The Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association President Mr Enock Dongo indicated that health workers, that include nurses, who have been on strike for the past three weeks were not paid allowances given to all civil servants. The government last month awarded a 50% increment in allowances for all civil servants and offered to pay them USD75 for the next three (3) months. However, some of the striking nurses have been removed from the payroll and did not receive their allowances and salaries. Mr Dongo believes that the omission is a tactic meant to threaten nurses, through victimisation.
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) proposed to increase the price of subsidised roller meal from ZWL70 to between USD2,50 and USD3,50 per 10 kilogrammes of mealie meal to cushion themselves from operational challenges. GMAZ has continuously complained that the government subsidy on roller meal was crippling their business as in some cases they were paid months after delivering the mealie-meal. They also complained that by the time they are paid, the money would have severely depreciated given the deprecation of the local dollar against the USD.
Veteran journalist Mr Ezra Tshisa Sibanda revealed that Zimbabweans are reportedly smuggling dead bodies of their relatives from South Africa to bury them back home. It was also reported that truck drivers are smuggling people from South Africa and bribe their way to Zimbabwe without going through checkpoints and being tested for COVID-19.
ZUPCO Southern Division Operations Manager Mr Tineyi Rwasoka highlighted that the transport situation in Bulawayo is set to normalise from today after they received 120 000 litres of fuel. This comes after thousands of commuters had to walk to and from work on Friday and Saturday after ZUPCO buses and commuter omnibuses were grounded without fuel. According to lockdown regulations, only ZUPCO franchised operators are permitted to transport passengers. With the passenger company’s fuel reserves running dry in the city most commuters had to resort to walking or boarding individually owned commuter omnibuses that were charging as much as ZWL50 or USD1 per trip.
Kwekwe acting Director of Health Mr John Bandama, in an interview with journalists, highlighted that the city had started registering informal traders in preparation for their return to business. The local authority has also embarked on a programme to construct more and refurbish existing market stalls so that they meet the minimum COVID-19 guidelines. The Government recently announced that informal traders could return to business if they are registered with local authorities.
In Karoi, it was reported that soldiers assaulted a 26-year-old man with logs and horse pipes for allegedly defying the lockdown regulations by loitering. It is alleged that the soldiers came across the man when he was going to a local shop to buy groceries. The soldiers questioned him about his whereabouts before indiscriminately assaulting him. It was reported that the victim sustained injuries to his hands as a result of the assault.
Summary of violations
The table below summarises human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 12 July 2020.
|Nature of Violation||Number of Victims||Location|
|Assault||279||Harare, Zvishavane, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Wedza, Chinhoyi, Zaka, Gweru, Chitungwiza, Bindura, Nembudziya, Chiredzi, Marondera, Mutoko, Chivi, Bikita, Zvishavane, Mvurwi, Mutare, Marondera, Beitbridge, Domboshava, Wengezi|
|Attack on Journalists||21||Mutare, Gweru, Chinhoyi, Harare, Chiredzi, Masvingo, Beitbridge|
|Arrests||496||Masvingo, Gokwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Hwange, Harare, Magunje, Lupane, Norton, Bikita, Mutasa, Chitungwiza, Nkayi, Makoni, Chipinge, Beitbridge, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Mwenezi, Guruve, Hwange, Murwi, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi|
The Forum is concerned about the growing numbers of deaths and confirmed COVID-19 cases particularly regarding local transmissions. This increase comes as the government is planning to reopen schools on 28 July. The Forum, therefore, implores all citizens to be even more cautious and adhere to COVID-19 safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Forum reminds law enforcement officers that they should protect citizens instead of persecuting and assaulting them.
Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)