Zimbabweans continue to flout curfew order despite police warnings

Zimbabweans continue to flout the Covid-19-induced curfew order despite warnings by police to clampdown on those found on the wrong side of regulations meant to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country.

As part of the 30-day lockdown which came into effect on January 5, Zimbabweans are obliged to observe a dusk to dawn curfew order.

What this means is that between 18:00 and 06:00 hours, everyone should be indoors with both pedestrians and motorists prohibited from moving from one point to another.

Police have advised all those travelling between cities to ensure that they do so without violating the curfew order.

Last Monday, police had already arrested a total of 341 251 people across the country for contravening the national lockdown since its introduction in March 2020.

A total of 2 336 people were arrested for various offences related to contravention of the national lockdown regulations and of those 890 contravened section 4(1) (a) of Statutory Instrument 83/20 ‘unnecessary movement during national lockdown except those exempted’ and 920 for failure to wear face masks, bringing the total cumulative arrests to 341 251.

He said that the law enforcement agents would be out in full force to ensure compliance with the curfew order put in place by the government on the 2nd January 2021.

National police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi last week said the law enforcement agents would intensify arrests on curfew order flouters, adding they would not hesitate to also impound vehicles whose owners would be found on the wrong side of the law.

However despite the warnings, people continue to be defiant.

A snap survey by CITE in Bulawayo’s Gwabalanda suburb Saturday evening, revealed that it is still business as usual for many.

Scores of residents could be seen walking on the streets after 19:00 hours while cars were still moving after 20:00 hours just like in a normal period.

By looking at what was happening, one could not tell the country is still under the curfew order.

A resident who identified himself as GB Sibanda said bread and butter issues were making it almost impossible for many to abide by the curfew order.

“Most people are living from hand to mouth and as a results they are into many deals for survival since there are very few of us who are gainfully employed,” said Sibanda.

“The other reason why people violate the lockdown order is simply because they are now tired of being confined to one place doing nothing.”

Another resident who only identified herself as Nobility said many people were flouting the lockdown order out of ignorance.

“The curfew thing is meant to protect and not to punish us,” she said.

“Zimbabweans don’t want to respect the authorities, so the law they pass citizens just want to oppose. On the other hand people are hustling; they can’t just sit down.”

For social commentator Ndumiso Ncube, there are many reasons why people disregard the curfew order.

“People are frustrated not only by the Covid regulations but also by the state of the economy and thus they disregard the curfew order,” said Ncube.

“The stress levels are increased by staying indoors hence people need some space.”

It however remains to be seen if Zimbabweans would continue disregarding the curfew order following the reviewing upwards of spot fines by the government this week.

Members of the public who violate lockdown regulations now risk paying a spot fine of ZWL$5 000, up from ZWL$500.

Other offences that may attract the same penalty include breaking curfew, not wearing masks correctly and moving around without exemption letters.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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