INFORMATION minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday defended her hosting a birthday party with other ministers and senior government officials without observing COVID-19 social distancing protocols or wearing masks saying she did “nothing wrong”.
BY MOSES MATENGA/NHAU MANGIRAZI
Mutsvangwa insisted to NewsDay that the attendees to the party, who included ministers Joel Biggie Matiza, Ziyambi Ziyambi and Kazembe Kazembe as well as information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana, observed all required protocols.
But pictures of the party, which were shared on social media by Mangwana himself, showed the high living officials hugging and partying without masks or any social distancing.
Mutsvangwa said she had no regrets after her family organised the surprise 60th birthday bash for her despite coming after police last week insisted that “weddings, birthdays, house parties, political and other social gatherings which include musical concerts were still banned” while Mangwana also tweeted that gatherings were ‘still limited to two persons.’
“So, my family cannot host a birthday party for me?” she asked rhetorically when NewsDay approached her for a comment.
“I have attended several events in the last week alone. I was in Nyanga, and there were more than 200 guests there. On Friday evening, I was at the Rainbow Towers and there were more than 400 guests there for the awards for Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, and then my family surprises me with a party with 50 guests comprising of my best friends and then it is a problem?
“Everything, and all measures were considered, COVID-19 tests were conducted, and the venue was enclosed. There was a disinfectant booth for all people coming in and isn’t it that there are people who just love to talk, who see everything as wrong?”
She said that she had a good time as the party was a memorable event for her.
Mutsvangwa, accompanied by her husband, Christopher who is also war veterans leader, as well as other close family members while notable business people were also present at the party.
“I enjoyed the party and I am still enjoying that party and really don’t have anything to say. It was memorable, I am very happy that my children went out of their way to make their mother happy and I am very grateful.
“It was a surprise party and really, I don’t know where the problem is. It is one or two people that have a problem with it and if they are hurt with me, they should just say it,” she said.
Mangwana defended the party saying the attendees were tested before ahead of their attendance and that all of the participants tested negative.
He added that less than 50 people were in attendance.
Last week, Mangwana maintained that gatherings remain limited to two persons while authorised events such as weddings are limited to 50.
Churches are limited to 100 people while parties remain prohibited.
The police on Saturday forced the Bulawayo Arts Awards ceremony to shut down for “violating COVID-19 measures.”
The Chief Coordinator on COVID-19 in the Office of the President and Cabinet Agnes Mahomva told NewsDay last week said that people were now acting as if the lockdown was already over, adding that people “must avoid crowds”.
Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health adnd Child Care Portia Manangazira also warned that people must stop ‘wild parties’ and observe social distancing during a training session of community health workers in Mutare recently.
Manangazira also indicated that Bulawayo was likely to be put under tighter lockdown rules due to the rise in infections, where wild parties were the order of the day.
“The wild parties, especially in Bulawayo that has been the epicentre of the latest COVID-19 infections and the risky behaviour at the parties is a cause of concern to health workers. There is lot that we can do responsibly as a nation,” Manangazira said.