Fresh lockdown: All eyes on police

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IT DID not surprise many Zimbabweans that the authorities have imposed a stiffened coronavirus stay-at-home order which has re-introduced a duskto-dawn curfew, which comes into effect tomorrow.

This is welcome because Zimbabwe is now reeling from the deadly second wave of coronavirus, which saw 29 people dying in the country last week alone — amid surging infections and growing indiscipline among ordinary citizens.

Under the new restrictions, contained in Statutory Instrument 10/2021, the operations of all businesses — except those providing essential services — have been suspended for 30 days, as authorities fight to curb the spread of the lethal disease.

The re-imposed dusk-to-dawn curfew means that people are prohibited anew from being out and about between 6pm and 6am, except for those providing essential services.

In addition, supermarkets will operate from 8am to 3pm. But air travel and essential land transportation across borders for trucks will continue under the new measures announced by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the country’s Health minister.

The reversion to tough restrictions is necessary because most Zimbabweans were beginning to relax to the extent of completely disregarding the World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 guidelines, such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks in public.

There are a number of examples of such disconcerting behaviour but none beats the brazen and flagrant violation of Covid-19 laws by the organisers of a New Year’s Eve gig in Mbare where thousands turned up to welcome the new year.

The mammoth gathering was a potential Covid-19 super spreader and one wonders why the police are only reacting after the gathering — despite that the event was well-publicised and that it happened next to Matapi Police Station.

Arrests might have been made but surely questions must be asked of the competence of the Officer Commanding Harare Province and his team. It is unfathomable that law enforcement agents can be so lax in the face of rising deaths and rapid spread of this lethal disease, with no moral scruple at all.

But this is a matter for the police superiors to deal with although such conduct increasingly exposes them for being the weakest link in President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government’s efforts to save lives during this trying period. As the new lockdown kicks-in, the nation expects the police to truly enforce the law, including clamping down on shebeens and nightclubs.

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