Did President Mnangagwa actually say that citizens who refuse Covid-19 vaccination will not access key services and job opportunities?

An online publication Kukurigo claimed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans who won't voluntarily take a Covid-19 vaccine will be denied access to jobs and essential services such as public transportation.

Verdict:  True.

Speaking at the commissioning of Epping Forest Water Supply Augmentation project for Bulawayo and ground-breaking ceremony of the Gwayi- Shangani- Bulawayo pipeline project in Nyamandlovu, yesterday, President Mnangagwa actually said there will be that time when people who won’t be vaccinated will be denied access to certain services.

“You are not forced to get vaccinated, there will be actually a time when you won’t get a job when you are not vaccinated.

“When you are not vaccinated you won’t board the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) bus, then you will see what to do,” said the President.

Context: President Mnangagwa was encouraging people to get vaccinated.

He said, “Last week saw the rollout of the first phase of our national Covid-19 vaccination programme which targeted front line workers.

“Social media was saying that the Ministers would not be vaccinated, on that particular day we had various engagements, so I phoned my Minister, the Vice President to get the first jab, “Muzive kuti ayiwa, the vaccine is safe…I vaccine leyi iright inhle liyithathe.

“The Vice President of the Country was the first to take it, he is still here, my cabinet and myself in few weeks when the next consignment comes, I will be vaccinated, he will be vaccinated and other cabinet ministers, ‘WENA UNGUBANI’, who are you,” asked the president.

“I assure the nation that more vaccines are coming and people will have the chance to be vaccinated, just yesterday at 03:30 I got communication from His excellency the President Xi Jinping through his Ambassador that because we have seized the first wave and thank the people of China , the government of China, yesterday they donated another 200 000 doses and the Ministry of Health supported by uNcube, he also got few sets yesterday  600 000 doses which will come in the first two weeks of March and another 1.2 million doses.

“So, you are not forced to get vaccinated, there will be a time that when you are not vaccinated you won’t get the job, if you are not vaccinated you will not board ZUPCO bus.  hamumanikidzwi kubaiwa, ichasvika nguva yekuti kana usina kubaiwa awuwani basa, kana usina kubaiwa awukwiri ZUPCO bus, saka wotowona kuti woita sei” and vaccines are free,

President Mnangagwa said the government has blocked companies who approached them wanting to sell the vaccine.

“There are so many companies which have come forward to import the vaccine and sell them, we have said NO, if any company buys vaccines that vaccine must be distributed free,” he said.

Background: The vaccination against Covid-19 is currently ongoing in Zimbabwe following the government’s procurement of the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm vaccine.

The country received 200 000 doses from China last week and the rollout of the vaccine began this week with the front-line workers such as Health workers in the public and private sector, journalists, port of entry officials, personnel from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), immigration, customs and security officials being prioritised in the first phase.

Phase two will target 18.4 percent of the citizens, who are at medium risk of Covid-19, these are staff at learning institutions such as lecturers and teachers while phase three will also target 18.4 percent of the population with least risk.

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