from MERCY MUJURU in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
CHINHOYI, (CAJ News) – RESIDENTS in northern Zimbabwe have launched a court challenge amid worries police and the army were spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19) to citizens during enforcement of a lockdown against the pandemic.
The lawsuit against government follows observations that security personnel have not been wearing protective clothing such as masks while discharging their duties.
Residents are fearful that if enforcers are infected with the virus, they would easily spread it to each other and to the public, which presents a threat to the public at large.
Residents in the Mashonaland West provincial capital – Chinhoyi have petitioned the High Court seeking an order to compel police officers and soldiers to wear protective clothing in the course of discharging their duties and to stop the arbitrary arrest and assault of members of the public.
Aggrieved citizens alleged that some Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) assaulted and tortured them on allegations of violating laws relating to the ongoing 21-lockdown decree.
Some are worried that the enforcers that assaulted and tortured them could have infected them with the deadly COVID-19 during the violations as neither wore protective clothing.
“The conduct of ZRP (police) members and ZNA (military) officers, while manifestly unlawful, also violated provisions of the law mandating the maintenance of social distancing to curb the transmission of the virus and placed them at great risk of contracting the virus,” read a petition.
Ministers of Defence Oppah Muchinguri, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe as well as army and police generals are cited as respondents in the court case.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.
Zimbabwe’s economic problems render the country ill-equipped to deal with COVID-19.
There have been 14 confirmed cases and three deaths but the relatively low figures are attributed to low testing as a result of shortage of equipment.
Only less thank 600 total number of people were tested nationwide in Zimbabwe.
– CAJ News