BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
RESIDENTS of Binga, Matabeleland North province, have expressed concern over a bar that has continued to operate since March last year despite a government ban in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Matabeleland North acting police spokesperson Sergeant Namatirai Mashona said they were making efforts to establish what was going on at Mountain View Bar before acting.
“Police are there to enforce law. We are still trying to get hold of the officers in Binga to understand the matter. I will find out how best we can work together with the provincial health director and police to make sure that the bar closes and that it does not become a COVID-19 hotspot,” Mashona said.
Binga residents, who spoke to Southern Eye, said the bar was a potential spreader of the virus.
“Mountain View has been opening all night since the start of COVID-19 lockdown in March last year. The police in the district know about this, but they are reluctant. This illustrates the failure by police to enforce lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the coronavirus,” a resident, Martin Masungo said.
Binga has recorded 36 new COVID-29 infections this month.
He alleged that the owner of the bar, Constantino Mambowa, was an undercover police officer.
“This proves that there is favouritism when it comes to application of law and enforcement of COVID-19 regulations,” he said.
However, Mambowa refuted the allegations, saying it was only his shebeen that was open which was allowing a few people into the premise.
“People are jealous of my work. It is only my shop and shebeen that are open. Customers also come to buy drinks at the shebeen and they leave immediately. I usually let in only four of my friends with their girlfriends to sit and drink in the shebeen. I was not aware that letting a few people, especially my friends, sit and drink is a crime,” Mambowa said.
Matabeleland North provincial medical director Munekayi Padingani said he was yet to get the full details of the matter.
“I am waiting for a police report. Surely, if they are suspecting something like this, police must be taking action. I will be also receiving COVID-19 updated records today to see how infections have risen,” he said.
- Follow Prestige on Twitter @NomveloPrestige