Lockdown: Mnangagwa awaiting provincial reports before announcing next step

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will study reports from the country’s provinces before making a decision on whether to extend the lockdown or not, a senior government official has said.

This was revealed by Vice President Kembo Mohadi who was in Bulawayo on Friday to check whether there was compliance in the city.

Zimbabwe is currently under a 21-day lockdown, whose aim is curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which was effected March 30, 2020 and is due to end on April 19, 2020.

The country has 24 confirmed positive cases including three deaths and two recoveries

VP Mohadi, chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Covid-19, toured coronavirus treatment facilities – Ekusileni Medical Centre and  Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital before heading to the National TB Reference Laboratory at Mpilo Central Hospital where COVID-19 testing is conducted.

Responding to questions from CITE after his tour on whether the government could extend the lockdown, VP Mohadi said such a decision was made by the president.

“Well, you are asking me a question that does not fall under my purview because the president has not consulted anybody when it comes to the lockdown. Even when he pronounced the first lockdown, he did not consult with the deputies and say I want a lockdown,” he said.

The vice president did, however, indicate President Mnangawa would make a decision after studying reports which the provincial COVID-19 taskforce teams would present to him.

“I think what will the determine him to either drop, end or to pronounce another statement in support of the continuance of the lockdown will depend on the reports that we give him. Reports that come from the provinces and reports that come from the districts on how the people are complying or whether compliance is being observed,” VP Mohadi said.

“Are people staying in their own homes or they still want to socialise the way they always wanted to socialise, so that will actually speak to his decision on whether to extend or not to extend. So it is his prerogative. I won’t say whether he will extend or not.”

VP Mohadi had indicated that the president would announce the next step during his 40th Independence celebrations address.

But on a televised address to the nation on the occasion of Zimbabwe’s 40th independence anniversary Saturday morning, President Mnangagwa did not indicate whether the lockdown would be extended or not.

He, nevertheless, called on Zimbabweans to work hard post the 21-day national lockdown to improve the country’s ailing economy.

“Beyond grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to keep our economy functional,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Unavoidable shocks and disruptions must be mitigated. Once the lockdown is over, we must all get back to work, with discipline and harder effort as we ready ourselves for a speedy economic recovery.”

Several African countries implemented a 21-day lockdown, with South Africa and Uganda extending it while Botswana announced a six month state of emergency to control the coronavirus pandemic from wrecking more havoc.

In Malawi, the High Court granted Human Rights Defenders Coalition a seven-day injunction stopping the government from implementing a 21-day national lockdown due to coronavirus in a bid to protect the poor.

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