THE Christian-based civic organisation, Habakkuk Trust, yesterday commended police for enforcing the lockdown order to prevent citizens from the possible spread of the deadly COVID-19.
BY SILAS NKALA
The lobby group, however, though blamed government for failure to provide people with basic items to ensure they stay at home during the lockdown announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week.
Police has been clamping down on citizens defying the lockdown and going out of their homes in search of foodstuffs such as mealie-meal which is in short supply.
Habakkuk said citizens desperately needed food aid and the government had a responsibility to provide them with the food and also protect them from the deadly virus.
“There were roadblocks along major roads manned by security forces that were thoroughly probing every citizen’s intention to get into town. Those who failed to give satisfactory answers were promptly turned back and those whose itinerary fell within the essential parameters were allowed to proceed,” the trust stated.
“Some residents wandered in search of subsidised mealie-meal while others joined long queues outside supermarkets to buy basic commodities. Long queues were also witnessed at ZESA offices and Mukuru outlets as residents were trying to buy electricity and access cash sent from the diaspora.”
A total of 485 people were arrested countrywide on Thursday as the police cracked down on those defying the lockdown order.
“More people have reportedly been arrested due to non-compliance. In light of the ailing informal economy, some residents have been failing to comply with measures imposed by the government to control the spread of the coronavirus.
“The highly informal nature of the economy which makes people live from hand to mouth and ignorance of an impending crisis in the event of an outbreak are some of the reasons why some residents fail to comply,” the trust said.
Habakkuk added: “The move by the Zimbabwe Republic Police to ensure adherence to the critical measures imposed by the government is important in combating the spread of COVID-19. Military action was mentioned among some of the raft of measures to deal with non-compliance,” the trust said.
“Habakkuk Trust is urging all residents to stay at home and move when necessary. The organisation calls on the government to ensure that food and basic services are available at all times. The security forces should be human rights friendly in enforcing the lockdown order.”
National Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi expressed disappointment that some people were seen roaming the streets and public places aimlessly, defying the lockdown order.
“We are saying people should comply, there is no need for people to play with their lives and health. There is no need to disregard measures put in place by the government so that the nation is able to contain COVID-19,” Nyathi said on Thursday.