Linda Masarira’s open letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa

7 July 2021
Dear Mr President
Firstly, I would like to applaud you and the government of Zimbabwe for remaining focused on ensuring a healthy nation by having regulations in place to curb the spread of COVID19 . It is unfortunate that law enforcement agents are letting down the good intentions of the COVID19 task force by engaging in corrupt and unethical conduct whilst executing their duties.
We expected the ZRP to pull up their stockings after the press conference by the Minister of Home Affairs Kazembe Kazembe, but we have seen the police deliberately failing to control mshikashika and illegal kombis in the Harare CBD. If this government is to be taken seriously, we expect order in the CBD and compliance to the COVID19 regulations in place so as to save lives. As COVID19 cases are increasing, these mshikashika are now super-spreaders of this deadly virus. We need reinforcement of COVID-19 regulations with law enforcement agents working tirelessly to instil order. Law enforcement agents should stop being catalysts of lawlessness by choosing bribes over maintaining law and order in the country.
Law-abiding citizens are now being affected by the laissez-faire approach of the security sector to deal with enforcement of the covid-19 regulations. At a time like this Mr President we request that you stamp your authority and continue the good work of having regulations in place to curb the spread of COVID19 in Zimbabwe.
Secondly, the announcement of reverting back to the exemptions of the first lockdown of 2020 by the Minister of Information and Publicity Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday at the cabinet briefing was vague and unclear to most Zimbabweans. We thereby seek clarity on the issue and suggest that all lockdown regulations be clearly articulated for all Zimbabweans to understand. It is important for the government to give people time to prepare before effecting regulations, for example, last year lockdown regulations were announced at least 5 days in advance and it allowed businesses to also have their workers letters prepared before the day the regulations were effected.
There is also a need to ensure that what government announces is what the roadblocks request for to save unnecessary congestion at roadblocks. During the previous lockdown, police at roadblocks were requesting different things from the announced lockdown travel documents which caused a lot of inconvenience and confusion.
Thirdly, lockdowns affect informal traders and small businesses the most. After the last lockdown was lifted many small businesses folded as they had no laws in place to protect them from the time that their businesses were affected by the lockdown. They still paid rentals for business premises that were closed and those who had loans at banks were affected the most. Companies must be protected during lockdowns so as to ensure their sustainability when normal business resumes. It is imperative for legislators and the executive to enact laws that protect small, medium and big businesses in times like the lockdowns caused by the COVID19 pandemic.
Lastly, the issue of social security of the vulnerable in society is an important aspect of national leadership that should be given priority by your highly esteemed office Mr President. Pensioners, people with disabilities and all those who earn way below the poverty datum line should be cushioned so as to sustain their livelihoods during these covid-19 lockdown periods. We need sincerity from the government in dealing with social welfare issues.
Together we can make Zimbabwe great again .
Kind regards
Linda Tsungirirai Masarira
LEAD President

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