MDC Alliance President Nelson Chamisa blasts General Constantino Chiwenga’s hard lockdown

MDC Alliance President Nelson Chamisa has slammed new hard lockdown regulations announced by VP Chiwenga on Saturday. Said Chamisa:

Sound public policy requires broad consultation of citizens. It must be scientific and for this reason, it ought to be evidence-based. The latest lockdown measures lack scientific rigour, rationality and consistency. We suggest a consultation with business, labour and Church.

The application of rules must be fair and non-selective because the virus does not select on the basis of status, class or political affiliation. Rules are effective not only when they apply to others, but when applied to those who make them.

The latest rules do not deal with the supporting measures to citizens and communities during the lockdown. If people must stay at home, support is key.

Commanding the closure of the economy without the necessary support, economic reliefs, medical and social measures is suicidal.

They forget that 80% of our economy is informal which means a lockdown without complementary support system will lose traction.

Faced with starvation, people will be forced to breach lockdown rules, posing more risk to themselves and others.

For this reason, there ought to be an economic and social safety net to support people during the lockdown. Simply announcing rules to keep people at home without more is a command style rulership which shows a total disregard to people’s interests.

Another critical omission from the new measures is the failure to address the plight of healthcare staff on the frontline.

[Having] healthcare workers without PPE is like sending soldiers to the front without guns and ammunition. It’s cruel and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

There is a clear pattern emerging in the way rules are crafted and enforced. The principal target is the poor people while the wealthy are allowed a free pass.

Breaches committed in Borrowdale by elites must be met with the same force as breaches in Mbare by ghetto youths.

What, for example, is the rationale for closing land ports while keeping open airports? It appears elitist as air travel is limited to a few with means while the majority who use road transport are locked in.

The closure of borders also locks in hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who work and support families and the country in neighbouring countries. Their remittances are a major source of income but they are now locked in.

We don’t just have a health crisis here but a governance and leadership crisis. We have provinces even districts and we have hotspots and epicentres.

Why not have isolation and targeted lockdowns for hot spots, where we identify red zones than to lock the whole nation?

— Nelson Chamisa


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