Kwekwe localized COVID-19 lockdown exceedingly worrisome, as gravely flawed, unscientific, and too little too late

When we were growing up, every child's dream was to work hard in school, in the hope of attaining a high education, and becoming a well-learned and valuable member of society - who would have a "good" job, as well as come up with intelligent and well-thought out ideas to improve the welfare of our communities.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

We honestly believed that our academic learning would make us intelligent, and open doors for us in adulthood.

However, my one personal experience showed me that this was far from being the case – as it was quite evident that, there could be those possessing exceptional qualifications, yet dismally failing in even comprehending the most basic of concepts, and lacking the ability to formulate intelligent solutions to the nation’s challenges.

In fact, one other profound lesson I learnt was that, in all my post-school adult working life, I found it extremely interesting than not even one potential employer ever asked me for my academic qualifications – but, was largely offered employment-based purely on what they knew I was capable of achieving.

As such, when I lost all my academic certificates in 2010, after the bag that they were in was stolen, never did I bother to have them replaced – as I now appreciated that my future was not determined by these documents, but by my personal God-given attributes, aptitude and abilities.

In other words, academic qualifications contributed very little to who I have become in life, and have no use for them.

How I ended up thinking of such things is the apparent competition within Zimbabwe’s ruling elite in attaining doctorates (PhDs) – the latest being the late transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza (who succumbed to the dreaded COVID-19 [SARS-Cov-2] a few months ago), who was sadly awarded his degree posthumously this week – as if, these were the key to their improved, intelligent, and competent performance and delivery to the nation.

Well, if there are still those in the corridors of power, harbouring such delusional thinking, then they simply have to look at the numerous policies that they have formulated and implemented over the course of this administration and evaluate whether these appear to have emanated from the minds of those possessing PhDs.

Do any of their monumental disasters inspire any confidence in the worth of their equally numerous doctorates?

The most recent being the imposition of a clearly ill-conceived and poorly-thought-out localized fourteen-day lockdown in the district of Kwekwe – where, the Indian variant of COVID-19 (known as the B.1.617.2) was recently detected, after the death of a local prominent business person, believed to have been infected by his niece, who had returned from India – thereby, prompting yesterday’s decision by the government to, amongst other things, increase curfew hours from 19:00 hrs to 06:00 hrs, reduce business hours from 08:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs, and ban gatherings such as weddings and church services.

What I found quite interesting was the order for bars, beer halls, and other drinking places to be closed – yet, these had never been opened under the current nationwide restrictions.

Nonetheless, what is more gravely flawed and exceedingly worrisome was the advisory warning to travellers – as the city of Kwekwe is situated in the middle of the country, and is the main transit route for those travelling between the capital Harare and the second-largest city Bulawayo – “to spend as little time as possible in Kwekwe during the next two weeks”.

Honestly, it does not need a rocket scientist, or a PhD, to figure out that, unrestricted travel to and fro, and through, the city, is not exactly a very scientific way to curb the spread of the disease.

Furthermore, advising these travellers to “spend as little time as possible in Kwekwe” does not stop someone who, for instance, makes a pit-stop at a fast-food restaurant, gets in contact with an infected person without protection, and is out of the city within fifteen minutes – to spread it to others, wherever else he goes in the country.

What more, the Indian variant did not enter Zimbabwe via Kwekwe (as there is no international airport), but through Harare – as such, the carrier could most likely have been in contact with several people in that city (or, on their way to Kwekwe) thereby, possibly spreading it there as well.

So, where is the logic in only locking down Kwekwe, whilst Harare (and, other routes) are left unchecked – or, are the authorities (notorious for their reactive, and not proactive, tendencies) waiting to hear of a death of someone there, who would then be tested for the India variant, thereby triggering a response, if found positive?

Where were the Zimbabwe authorities when this Indian variant was making global headlines, as it wrecked fatal havoc in the Asian country – killing thousands of people each and every day – yet, the Harare administration allowed the free flow of travel between the two countries to continue unhindered?

What did they honestly think would be the end result, when they permitted an Indian business delegation to visit the country – in the midst of the variant’s ruthless reign of terror – without, at the very least, quarantining them, but rather chose to parade them countrywide, in the regime’s desperate egoistic-inspired attempts to portray themselves as “having international friends”, even going as far as mixing and mingling without wearing face masks, or social distancing?

Personally, my fear is that, this Indian variant is not restricted to Kwekwe alone, and the government’s reaction – with this localized lockdown – is a bit too little, and too late, and only have themselves to blame for whatever happens next.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp//Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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