Zimbabwe: Police, Army Wantonly Prohibiting Public Access to CBD

16 June 2020

Police and the military were this morning chasing away people in Bulawayo from getting into the central business district (CBD) area without giving reasons, in yet another confirmation of poor government communication.

Some residents who had braved the cold weather to queues for their monies at the banks and workers in general were forced to return home, sources told 263Chat.

Yesterday, residents in Harare were also subjected to random harassment in the morning by security personnel with only nurses, guards and other civil servants allowed to gain access to the CBD.

"We have just been turned away and there is no communication regarding to why we are ordered to return home. I was standing in a bank queue and was ordered to vacate the area," the source said.

Videos and pictures went viral on social media platforms this morning on events unfolding in the country's second largest city.

However the move has left citizens vexed by government's actions lately.

Last Friday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa relaxed lockdown restrictions albeit under strict adherence to safety measures as the country re-opens the economy.

"All our people in the informal sector who have not formerly registered themselves or their enterprises are directed to do so forthwith,"

"Once they can prove that such registration has been made, they can resume their operations. Upon resuming their work, they are compelled to adhere to laid down Covid-19 prevention requirements such as the wearing of masks, hand sanitization and practicing social distancing," the President said.

But events in the past two days in Harare and Bulawayo are in direct conflict with Mnangagwa's pronouncement.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national spokesperson, Inspector Paul Nyathi referred 263Chat to Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Abednico Ncube for comment on the developments in the city this morning but efforts to get hold of him were futile.

Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) regional spokesperson for Matabeleland, Nobert Mafu in an interview said while they acknowledge changes in policy regarding Government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic there was greater need for effective communication in government actions.

"The government should use basic communication channels such as text messages on mobile networks since the majority of people have those. They can even post on various social media platforms a day before so that people know what exactly will be happening tomorrow rather than wake up to new measures and people being chased back home from their working places," he said.

The country's security personnel remain deployed at all gateways into all major cities and town as part of measures to monitor and contain the spread of the Coviud-19 pandemic.

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