Mnangagwa in catch-22


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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa is in a catch -22. He is under fire for going on leave while the country is burning from the surge in coronavirus cases. But the same critics would probably have taken him to task for staying on the job claiming that he was afraid to go on leave because of threats of a coup.

There has been a surge in coronavirus cases since the last week of December with 55 deaths and 3 327 new cases being recorded in the first five days of this year.

Zimbabwe recorded 86 deaths and 3 833 new cases for the whole of December, which was considered one of the worst months for the pandemic.

The highest number of deaths, 135, was recorded in August.

Health Minister and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga announced a 30-day level 4 lockdown on Saturday to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Mnangagwa welcomed the lockdown yesterday saying this was the final push – “let’s defeat this virus for good”.

He tweeted: “Zimbabwe is entering a second lockdown to stop the spread of a #COVID19 second wave.  Please, for the sake of your family and loved ones, avoid large gatherings and non-essential travel. “

Although public gatherings were banned with immediate effect and a 6pm to 6am curfew was imposed the full lockdown effectively started yesterday. It bars free movement of people except those working for essential services and those going to buy food or medicines.

Some have criticised the lockdown saying it targeted at the poor.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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