Zimbabwe: Mutare City Tracks, Captures Several Returnees

3 June 2020

Municipality authorities, in conjunction with security officials and the provincial Covid Taskforce, have managed to track several returnees who sneaked in into the city clandestinely.

Mayor Blessing Tandi told delegates during a virtual meeting organized by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) that the municipality is running an ongoing surveillance on citizens returning clandestinely.

Pressed on how many people have been captured, Tandi was evasive only revealing that council has managed to track several people who have since been captured and surrendered to quarantine centres.

He said city council captured two families who had 'eloped' without undergoing mandatory quarantine.

"We have also been conducting ongoing surveillance for returnees which are sneaking in and we are on high alert for those people through our health department with help of authorities.

"Recently we captured two families which had clandestinely eloped into the community, without being noticed and our fellow councilor for Ward 18 Deputy Mayor Kudakwashe Chisango was informed and he quickly alerted council.

"Yes people have been coming in clandestinely and we have been receiving information and we have been following up on all those people whether they are ill or not ill.

"We can safely say so far we have managed to track several people who have clandestinely returned within our community, but the majority of them so far we can say they have all tested negative.

"We will now be following up on what steps the security sector will now take in terms of them eloping into our communities," he said.

On service delivery Tandi said the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted on the municipality through depressed revenue collection down to 10% of average monthly collections.

He said despite these challenges the city council is managing with its resources and with aid of partners to set up a response to the virus.

"We have set up quarantine centres for returnees from Mozambique Rowa, and those from South Africa and Botswana their quarantine centres are at Mary Mount and Mutare Teachers College.

"We upgraded Mutare Infectious Disease Hospital (MIDH) and it took us partners like the CZI who partnered us to renovate a 5 ward isolation centre which cost ZWL$3 million, we appreciate the role of stakeholders who came to rescue.

"We still need equipment, what we only have are two donated ventilators which are yet to be connected at the centre, we are only collecting 10 percent of our revenue," said Tandi.

ZIMCODD organized the virtual inclusive dialogue under an Economic Governance Initiative (EGI) project which seeks to conduct aimed at facilitating dialogue between key development stakeholders including policy makers, duty bearers, Residents Associations and citizens.

ZIMCODD says although the Constitution gives local authorities jurisdiction to take a leading role in the management of local affairs, citizens have been left out in decision making.

"Although Chapter 14 of the 2013 Constitution gives "powers of local governance to the people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decision affecting them", there has not been adequate citizen engagement and actions to demand the participation and influence decision-making on economic issues.

"Local government involvement in the management of public finances is brought into spotlight in rolling out devolution without an effective citizen movement, Covid resource expenditure and mobilization without clear accountability mechanisms and limited consensus with critical non state actors compromising sound Public Finance Management practices.

"In that regard, ZIMCOOD under the Economic Governance Initiative cluster seeks to facilitate dialogues that are inclusive for the greater good of the country," says ZIMCODD.

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