Coronavirus (Covid-19): Norton MP Temba Mliswa reveals why Zimbabwe cannot afford lockdown extension

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Member of the House of Assembly for Norton, Temba Mliswa (INDEPENDENT) says citizens cannot sustain an extension of the 21-day national lockdown due to the very nature of the country’s economy where the majority of people eke a living from vending.

Today, Zimbabwe is on day 19 of the 21-day national lockdown meant to starve off the spread of the coronavirus, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa hinting a few days ago that he will discuss whether to extend or not extend the lockdown with his Vice Presidents as well as the Cabinet.

In a letter he wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, Mliswa requests that that all MPs in the 210 constituencies be allocated an emergency Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

The fund, said Mliswa, are to be channelled towards COVID-19 prevention and preparedness.

Mliswa said resources must be placed towards emphasizing on prevention measures, adding this was the most palatable option given that people are already starving in homes.

“In my capacity as MP of Zimbabwe with the mandated role of legislation, oversight and representation and in light of COVID-19 pandemic of which Zimbabwe has not been spared, I hereby request that MPs from the 210 constituencies be allocated an emergency CDF to be channelled towards COVID-19 precautions, prevention and preparedness,” reads the letter, dated 14th April.

“It is no secret that our health systems are nowhere near as advanced as those in the developed countries and yet we have witnessed these state-of-the-art facilities crumble and become overwhelmed by the sheer demand created by COVID-19 patients.

“I, therefore, request that each MP be resourced to implement precautionary and preventative strategies in their communities as a way of mitigating the harsh effects of the spread of COVID-19,” Mliswa said.

Previously, there were cases of abuse of community development funds by the legislators from both the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition MDC.

However, there has never been prosecution for the cases.

Mliswa’s statement comes as the legal watchdog Veritas yesterday said Zimbabwe does not as yet meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) targets for lifting Covid-19 lockdowns.

According to the WHO, Covid-19 transitions have to be at a controllable level, outbreak risks minimised in special settings and importation risks managed. Also, communities should be fully educated about the pandemic and preventive measures in place against Covid-19 infection in essential places that people go to such as workplaces and schools.

But Veritas noted that since Zimbabwe does not meet any of the set targets, “extending the lockdown seems necessary”.

“The spread of Covid-19 is probably just starting in Zimbabwe,” it said.

Zimbabwe now has 24 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including three deaths. Two of the 24 cases have since recovered, according to the latest update by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

– Zimbabwe Voice


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