By Irvin Takavada
Since the announcement of ‘extreme’ lockdown by government which we are currently observing, there have been many puzzling questions over the move.
For Zimbabwe, this lockdown has been insensitive that can’t be over-emphasised for example why continue to open airports while closing land borders as if it to say the virus spare the affluent. This was absurd by the government to come up with such a restriction which throws thousands of families living off cross border trade into abject poverty.
Why is it safe to farm and do mining where we know social distancing ,sanitising and masking up could be disregarded with disdain but vending which supports the economy’s back bone (agric sector) and a source of livelihood for many families has been shut out .
The Inconsistencies Lay Bare
That this lockdown is wrought with inconsistencies has been highlighted in the above paragraph and we don’t know whether it is mere coincidence that the announcement came from the same minister of health who doubles up as the country’s VP is the one who also called for the ban of by-elections saying they posed a Covid-19 risk to the electorate. But fast forward the announcement which the electoral body ZEC also acknowledged as plausible, Zanu PF went on to hold its DCC elections ,primary elections for the vacant council and parliamentary posts and the ‘captured’ MDC-T held its EOC recently.Where all these events not riskier now that we have witnessed Thokozani Khuphe a losing presidential candidate at the congress contracting the virus and a member Cephas Makuyana later succumbing to it.
Lockdown in Zim locks Out Livelihoods
It still boggles the mind why our government is obsessed with following the World Health Organisation of effecting a lockdown when its economy is largely informal. It is not conceivable that citizens who are not part of the essential services are going to be indoors for 30-days.There are no relief packages for such families and there is no guarantee they could be availed anytime soon so why the government insist on a lockdown which is bound to fail defies logic. In Africa we have seen Tanzania defying the WHO regulations of effecting a lockdown and we haven’t witnessed a frightening death toll due to Covid-19 .
Testing Remains Subdued
When government effected the first lockdown, there were assurances that testing for the Covid-19 virus will be heightened but that was false. To date , testing in Zimbabwe has been very subdued .The costs of getting a PCR test which is the most reliable test for Covid-19 has deterred many from early detection of the virus which then puts the risk of many to succumb to the virus when it worsens. If government can afford to set up polling stations in remote countries why not also put up booths that can test millions in a day just as millions vote in a single day. If soldiers can be deployed to quell disturbances in a huff why not train them to also conduct Covid-19 tests to protect the citizens. We have many universities why not innovate and make our own testing kits.Why cant they allow movement for people to fend for themselves while they have many testing points and issue verifiable certificates, if the state can’t test its people widely for free where is the taxpayers money going
Dearth in Research Cripples Africa
Why African countries including Zimbabwe continue to religiously follow the recommendations by the World Health Organisations without looking for home-grown remedies is our lack of research. Because of our poor economies, our best brains are in the developed world hence we don’t have African solutions when world calamities befall us. It was prudent to establish whether a lockdown is necessary in Africa .For example we are hearing some victims claiming that they recovered through use of home remedies like Zumbani which Madagascar has been advocating for but WHO has not approved such. The Covid-19 vaccine that they have approved will not come in cheap, millions of taxpayers’ money is going to be gobbled in many African countries as we try to deal with the novel virus.