Mnangagwa Hints At Doing Last What He Should Have Done First, Closing Informal Markets.
25 March 2020
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Wisborn Malaya ZCIEA Secretary General

The Mbare Fresh Produce Market, Mupedzanhamo and other public markets with huge traffic can be closed any time if there is need to do so as a way of stopping the spread of coronavirus in the country, President Mnangagwa has hinted.

Government spared them in a raft of new measures announced by President Mnangagwa on Monday night to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but introduced screening at points of entry.

Fielding questions from journalists at State House on why the two markets were not closed, President Mnangagwa said: “The process is likely to follow, but for now we have decided to have health personnel around the area to monitor and make sure that people coming in or out of those places are screened.

“If need arises that we close Mbare (green market) and other markets, we will do so. But this is the first phase of our action to restrict free movement.”

President Mnangagwa said Government was taking resources from several areas to ensure that it enhanced health operations.

“Where there is no water, we will have the District Development Fund drilling boreholes in those areas,” said President Mnangagwa.

“We have informed the Minister of Health and Child Care to give us his bill to purchase so we should be able to purchase the needs to fight this pandemic.”

Clarifying on the issue of unnecessary movement in the country, President Mnangagwa said Government was not policing the movement of people, but encouraging people to minimise movements.

President Mnangagwa said it was important for people queuing for fuel to be disciplined and remain in their cars while those lining up for roller meal and other basics to observe the World Health Organisation social distance guidelines.

Said President Mnangagwa: “The pandemic today challenges all our normal chores, habits and behaviours, and we all now have to adapt a new, unusual social culture. The worldwide spread of this baneful virus has been rapid and surprising.”

In a press statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Chamber for Informal Economies Association failed to understand the logic behind President Mnangagwa leaving the markets open demanding that government provides the requisite health equipment to fight the virus if the markets remained open.

“Whilst we appreciate the call by Government not to close informal markets for now so as not to put survival of many informal economy workers/traders’ and their families at serious risk, we are deeply concerned about the state of preventive measures through these market places. This includes need for spraying all market places, provision of sanitizers, masks and gloves to traders at these market places,” said Wisborn Malaya the Association’s Secretary General.

The Association hinted that the most logical thing that Mnangagwa could have done was to totally close the markets on order to protect its members.

“On a high note the best approach will be total lock down for a period with provision of emergency food subsidies to the traders,” said Malaya.