AS usual, as is expected of the Zanu PF-led government, this new lockdown has started off as a shambles. Government seemed to have learnt something from the way it introduced the first lockdown by appointing Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga as Health minister.
But no, this second phase started off in total confusion. This was mostly caused by the use of the word “immediate”. Immediate means exactly that, forthwith, without delay, straight away, etc.
So last Sunday, the military and police were on the roads turning people back from the central business districts! They had read the announcement to mean with immediate effect, quite rightly.
People on holiday thought that they were now stranded in the countryside after holidaying with no means of transport to get back to their homes. Fortunately, for some reason sense prevailed and the law enforcers allowed those needing to travel to return home. Or did the population just enforce sense to prevail?
This new lockdown was also introduced with complete lack of thorough planning as evidenced by the statements and notices coming from government and the police explaining procedures in dribs and drabs.
To add to the confusion, all government does is pass laws and issue statements referring to previous statutory instruments of which there have been well over 200 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Government should have been monitoring and re-evaluating the whole lockdown scenario from the onset in March, but it seems to have sat back and allowed things to largely develop on their own. From the outset it was patently obvious that COVID-19 was going to be with us for at least two years. It was clear months ago that people were relaxing their guard and social distancing was impossible to maintain in many situations.
Government should have seen it coming long back and kept up the awareness campaigns to encourage public safety. It should have been obvious to the government, especially the health authorities, that people would relax their guard if there was no consistent enforcement.
The Zanu PF-led government is culpable as it failed to provide the leadership it was entrusted with.
Or is this more proof that they once again usurped power through a stolen election?