BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking an order to compel government to provide a COVID-19 national vaccination roll-out plan.
In papers filed at the High Court, ZimRights, represented by Tendai Biti of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, wants the government to present the budget for COVID-19 vaccine before Parliament.
Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who is the Health minister, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and President Emmerson Mnangagwa were cited as respondents.
ZimRights wants the government to provide the COVID-19 national vaccination deployment plan within seven days of the High Court order.
In his founding affidavit filed at the courts, ZimRights national director Dzikamai Bere stated that section 29 of the Constitution obliges the government to take all practical measures to ensure the provision of basic accessible and adequate health services throughout Zimbabwe.
In the face of a ravaging pandemic that has claimed lives of over two million people globally and over 1 200 in Zimbabwe, ZimRights is calling for government to act timeously and save lives from the pandemic.
“Section 29(3), in particular, obliges the state to take all preventive measures within the limits of resources available to it, including education and public awareness programmes against the spread of diseases. Section 76 obliges the State to take reasonable legislative and other measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to healthcare,” Bere said.
He also urged government to take a cue from other countries and take the necessary steps and a human rights-centred approach to fight coronavirus.
“We are simply asking the government to lead, and save lives.” ZimRights said.
“We don’t understand how anyone can fail to agree with us given the far-reaching consequences of inaction.”
The World Health Organisation is urging governments to avail factual information on COVID-19 to the public.
In its efforts to combat the spread of the deadly virus, ZimRights provided urgent humanitarian support to marginalised communities and institutions reaching out to over 17 000 people and 26 institutions that include rural clinics, schools, quarantine centres and correctional facilities.