145 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 21 August 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 5 815 confirmed cases after 70 new cases tested positive, of which all cases were local transmission cases. According to statistics, active cases now stand at 1 076, with 62 new recoveries and a cumulative total of 4 587 recoveries have been recorded to date.
We note the growing complaints by members of the public against alleged instances of rent seeking behaviour and/or abuse by enforcement security service officers during the lockdown.
We raise this issue to note the deficit in Zimbabwe of the lack of the Independent Complaints Mechanisms as provided by section 210 of the Constitution. We continue to urge that such a mechanism would increase the confidence of aggrieved members of public to come forward and officially lodge such complaints. It will also go a long way in providing the applicable institutions with an opportunity to respond to the complaints raised.
Further to that, we call upon communities and individuals facing the above-mentioned challenges to contact the following institutions:
- National Peace and Reconciliation Commission: 0714 035 328 or call 0712 906 826
- Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission on hotlines: 0786 602 035 or 0771 838 656
- Zimbabwe Gender Commission on 0712 899 543 or 0712 899 543 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Critical Emerging Issues
Access to sexual reproductive rights and sanitary wear.
As marginalised sections of the population, in particular women and girls continue to face the brunt of the lockdown, challenges continue to mount on access to sexual reproductive health products, such as sanitary wear. This challenge has been attributed to budgetary and financial constrains presented by the lockdown measures, which have resulted in most households losing their income generating capacity. Noting that this status quo, will continue to obtain indefinitely, due to the fact that the lockdown period was declared indefinite.
- We therefore recommend that Government rightly directs its attention to the challenges that women and girls are currently facing, and address those appropriately.
- We call upon Government to develop and implement programs that will ensure that women and girls access free sanitary wear during the lockdown.
Education and Radio Lessons
We raise concern over lack of sufficient communication regarding the status of radio lessons, by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. In particular, the Ministry must address critical issues which will ensure equal opportunities between girls and boys, rural and urban pupils.
- We continue to recommend a publicized monitoring and evaluation strategy by the Ministry to measure to measure the success and practicability of this initiative.
- We further recommend that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education continuously collect disaggregated data and update the Nation on pupils’ access and attendance to the radio lessons.
- We further recommend the data to be gender disaggregated, in order to ensure that girls attend the lessons, and are not consumed with the burden of unpaid care work, within the household.
Safeguarding Healthcare Workers
We raise concern over lack of prioritisation of the health sector, particularly the plight of nurses, who for now have been on strike for over 2 months, without any meaningful dialogue or solutions provided by Government. We note the huge strain under which the health care system in Zimbabwe has been placed by COVID-19. Distressed to note that as at 15 August over 480 healthcare workers had contracted COVID-19. We further note the growing reports of various communities and classes of persons finding themselves dealing with illness and deaths related to COVID-19, without access to health care services or PPE.
- We therefore call upon the Government to demonstrate its commitment to equitable access to health sector services and equitable access to PPEs for all classes of persons, in Zimbabwe with due regard to the multitude of Constitutional provisions which remain extant.
We further urge the safeguarding of all frontline workers, by ensuring among other things, provision of adequate PPE.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe