Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga warned yesterday that government could soon be forced to make the COVID-19 vaccination certificate a prerequisite for public services if citizens continue shunning the inoculation exercise.
Speaking during an interview with broadcaster Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa at his offices in Harare, Chiwenga said the move would be made to encourage inoculation and achieve the targeted 60% herd immunity.
“Remember the COVID-19 certificates, eventually they are going to become our passports,” he said. If you watch the news globally, you will see that there are deliberations in all capitals on vaccination passports.”
Last month in Nyamandlovu, President Emmerson Mnangagwa insinuated that there would come a time when vaccination would become mandatory.
“You won’t be forced to be vaccinated. But there will come a time where if you are not vaccinated, you will not be able to get a job, if you are not vaccinated you will not able to board a Zupco bus. Eventually, you will have to decide for yourself,” he said then.
Yesterday, Chiwenga also said he missed his military allies who succumbed to COVID-19.
He recounted how he received the news of the death of his “great friends”, who include the late Cabinet ministers Perrance Shiri (Lands and Agriculture), Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs) and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services boss Paradzai Zimondi, who all succumbed to COVID-19.
“They give me courage. The fortunate or unfortunate part is that I had spoken to all of them prior to their deaths. With (Retired) Air Marshal Shiri, we had talked for almost an hour and we ended up talking about our days at school, late into the night. In the early hours of the morning, I received the shattering news that he was no more. He was the last person I had spoken to that day,” Chiwenga said.
“It gives us the courage that everybody has his or her own time. But I had not expected to lose such great friends to this pandemic. We grieve, but we understand that this has happened, and ask strength from God to accept reality. This is the reality and I can’t change it.”