OFFICERS from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are reportedly taking brides from liquor and merchants and bar owners to allow them to operate way into the night despite government having issued a six to six Curfew as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
By Patricia Mashiri
A snap survey by HealthTimes recently shows that bars as well as shebeen operators in both rural and some urban settings were operating beyond the stipulated time. In Harare, places like Dzivarasekwa, Kuwadzana 3, Budiriro, Glenview had thriving shebeens operating throughout the night while in Zimuto, Masvingo North, bars were closing after 11:00 pm.
Commenting on the development, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the ZRP Spokesperson said the long arm of the law would soon catch up with the police officers taking brides from business people violating the national lockdown guidelines.
The Public should report any form of corruption especially brides so that we will be able to investigate and culprits should be brought to book.
“The level of COVID-19 regulations compliance in rural areas have been low but we are carrying out awareness campaigns not only as the Police but also the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting services and Ministry of Health and Child Care. It is an ongoing process. We are also engaging traditional leaders so that they will help us spread the information to their subjects. We hope by so doing we will increase the level of compliance,” Assistant Commissioner said.
Meanwhile, Mr Itai Rusike, the Executive Director for the Community Working Group On Health (CWGH) said poor adherence to the WHO Covid-19 recommended guidelines and protocols in the rural areas was mainly due to information gaps.
“Tackling disinformation and misinformation will require a multilingual public education campaign with respectful discussion and informed community participation. If Zimbabwe is to achieve herd immunity, we need a lot more people including those in rural areas to be willing to take up the vaccine jab and also continue to properly wear the face masks, avoid public gatherings especially funerals and regularly washing their hands with soap and running water and use of alcohol based hand sanitisers.
“Public trust will now have to be rebuilt in the vaccine itself and requires an urgent, widespread communication strategy and plan that speaks to the rural communities in their local indigenous languages. Community Health Workers should be capacitated and supported to carry out Covid-19 literacy, education and awareness activities in the rural areas as they are trusted sources of information,”said Mr Rusike.