Zimbabwe COVID-19 Lockdown Monitoring Report 5 July 2020 – Day 98

1.0       Introduction


Sunday 5 July 2020 marked day 98 of the national lockdown declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and has been in place since 30 March 2020.   The Ministry of Health and Child Care reported an increase in the number of confirmed cases to seven hundred and sixteen (716). The number of cumulative tests done stood at eighty thousand and eighty-nine (80 089). Of these, seventy-nine thousand three hundred and seventy-three (79 373) were negative. The number of recoveries remained at one hundred and eighty-one (181) and the death toll remained at eight (8).

2.0       Methodology
Information contained in this report is derived from the following Forum Members:

  • Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
  • Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
  • Counselling Services Unit (CSU)
  • Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
3.0       Gunshots
Police officers in Chitungwiza allegedly shot Tinashe Zharare on his right leg at Jambanja vendors market at Unit L in Chitungwiza. It was reported that Zharare was selling groceries from his vehicle when police officers from Chitungwiza Police Station began their usual raid on the area. Zharare quickly got into his vehicle and closed the door intending to drive off the scene. A police officer then allegedly fired directly at the vehicle. The bullet not only damaged the drivers’ door but it went through the vehicle resulting in Zharare sustaining serious injuries on his right leg and was left needing reconstructive surgery on the said right leg. The police officers immediately rushed the injured Zharare to Chitungwiza Hospital and dropped him off before vanishing without leaving any documentation.4.0       General Updates
In Mudzi, more than 300 villagers convened at Kapotesa Primary School to watch a community football match and other activities. Community members in Mudzi and the rest of the nation have continuously defied the national lockdown since the introduction of the level 2 national lockdown. This comes after the increasing cases of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe especially relating to the local transmissions.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity Mr Nick Mangwana reported that several returnees absconded Beitbridge Quarantine Centres after returning from South Africa. However, the full list of people who absconded the quarantine centre is yet to be published. This comes after reports by the National Police Spokesperson Assitant Commissioner Paul Nyathi that police have since arrested three hundred and nineteen border jumpers since May. Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi also advised that police officers arrested 87 827 people countrywide since March 30 for violating lockdown measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19. The bulk of the arrested persons paid fines.

It was reported that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has finalised the disinfection of Goromonzi High School in preparation for the re-opening of the school on 28 July. Returnees who were housed at Goromonzi High School were transferred to the National Training Centre for Rural Women and Domboshava Training Centre.

As transport challenges continue to mount in most cities and towns, some bus operators are allegedly withdrawing their vehicles from the ZUPCO franchise scheme citing the government’s failure to pay them adequately for their services. According to a letter to the Minister of Local Government Mr July Moyo from associations representing commuter omnibus operators from Harare, Chitungwiza, Gweru, Bulawayo and Chinhoyi dated June 17, the ZUPCO deal has become unviable. The operators said failure by ZUPCO to review its fees in line with inflation trends put their businesses in danger.

Vice President Kembo Mohadi launched a contact tracing application designed by Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) students at the institution’s main campus. The application dubbed Sotario, is a mobile application that gives the user room to enter names of his or her contacts and their locations and the Sotario protocol will generate public COVID-19 red zones, which are areas the patient has spent a considerable amount of time. The application will then warn other users if one is entering a red zone.

According to the Matabeleland North Provincial Social Welfare Department, the bulk of citizens in Matabeleland North are reportedly failing to access their COVID-19 monthly allocation in the form of cash transfers from the government because of lockdown travel restrictions. The government recently introduced social protection programmes, among them monthly cash transfers of ZWL180 per household to mitigate effects of COVID-19. However, some vulnerable people were under lockdown in areas other than their places of registered residence and have been failing to travel and collect the aid. Another setback is the exorbitant transport charges demanded by private transporters in the absence of public transport. Inter-city and provincial travel are still restricted, and one needs a letter from the police to travel, which is not easily accessible. The cash transfers are distributed through NetOne’s One Money platform and each beneficiary is handed a NetOne sim card loaded with ZWL180.

5.0       Summary of violations
The table below summarises human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 5 July 2020.

Nature of Violation Number of Victims Location
Assault 278 Harare, Zvishavane, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Wedza, Chinhoyi, Zaka, Gweru, Chitungwiza, Bindura, Nembudziya, Chiredzi, Marondera, Mutoko, Chivi, Bikita, Zvishavane, Mvurwi, Mutare, Marondera, Beitbridge, Domboshava, Wengezi
Attack on Journalists 19 Mutare, Gweru, Chinhoyi, Harare, Chiredzi, Masvingo, Beitbridge
Arrests 495 Masvingo, Gokwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Hwange, Harare, Magunje, Lupane, Norton, Bikita, Mutasa, Chitungwiza, Nkayi, Makoni, Chipinge, Beitbridge, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Mwenezi, Guruve, Hwange, Murwi, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi
Malicious Damage to Property 2 Harare, Chitungwiza
Abductions 3 Harare
Gunshots 1 Chitungwiza

6.0       Conclusion

The Forum is concerned about the use of live ammunition by police officers which resulted in the injury of Tinashe Zharare. The use of live ammunition was unnecessary and unconstitutional. The Constitution is clear on the procedures to be taken when making an arrest. Cases of police officers using live ammunition against unarmed civilians are on the rise.

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