Chamisa calls for social safety nets 

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©️ OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa has called on government to provide food aid to support the poor who cannot afford to stay at home as they live from hand to mouth during the 21-day lockdown against the deadly coronavirus.

 

This comes as the country yesterday marked the start of the 21-day lockdown announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Friday as the country took drastic measures to curb the spread of the lethal virus that has been confirmed in seven persons in the country and claimed one life. In the wake of the bushfire-like spread of coronavirus — several countries, including neighbouring South Africa, have initiated lockdowns so as to ensure that lives are saved.

But while countries like South Africa have offered stimuli packages to businesses that will be affected by the lockdowns as well as providing social nets to relieve the poor, Zimbabwe with a wobbly economy has not extended any form of assistance to the poor who are likely to be hit hardest by the drastic measures that were introduced by the government last week.

In an interview, Chamisa said the poorest, who live on the economic margins, coaxing a living through vending and other informal avenues, should be helped during this dark phase.

“…It remains government duty to provide safety nets and provisions for the vulnerable as we face twin evils of poverty and Covid-19…The entire world is engulfed by Covid-19. This disease is real. It does not discriminate. Public health systems across the world, including ours, are overwhelmed. This is why it is vital to do everything to prevent the spreading of virus.

“Given the essential nature of food markets, decentralised and monitored markets which allow informal traders to fend for their families while practising social distancing and WHO hygiene protocols should be encouraged under the supervision of the assigned officials,” said Chamisa.

Mnangagwa announced a lockdown that economists have warned will impact negatively on the country’s struggling economy as he conceded that the scourge of the deadly coronavirus, which has killed more than 30 000 worldwide and affected more than half a million people, is likely to derail his ambitious Vision 2030 to make Zimbabwe an upper middleclass economy.

In light of the outbreak of coronavirus Chamisa echoed Mnangagwa’s calls for unity of purpose in order to emerge victorious against the disease.

 

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