Billian T Matambo, Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Workers Union(ZIDAWU)
From the community ‘s perspective ,life in the rural areas is unbearable due to this lockdown .Let me not beat around the bush, I will just stick to the point
1)Human Right Violations In these trying times some security are taking advantage of locals. Venting their frustration on the already suffering villagers. I will give an example of what the police are doing in Chiadzwa ,they’re demanding fines to locals who are even coming from fetching water at Tenda shopping centre .Taking bribes from shop owners whom they caught selling beer and the bribes act as licence for shop owners to continue selling beer. No one knows what axclly are the lockdown Dos and donts’ since they find faults whenever they feel like . The roadblocks which are in the area ,nothing is impossible if one pays the bribe .Its all about money not about lockdown mitigatory measures.
2) Stigmatization.There is a lot of stigmatization around the Covid -19 pandemic. The way media is handling cases of those who are found positive is sending shivers , fear ,hopelessness and wrong perspectives to the villagers. Publication with beware signs followed by names those found positive by media is creating resistance in seeking medical assistance by villagers whenever they suspect that they have covid 19 symptoms. Most are going in to hidding which is posing a bigger risk to the community at large.The pandemic might spread like veld fire .
3)Overprising of basic commodities by local retailers. Most communities in Zimbabwe are facing the same challenge of no longer affording to purchase basic commodities from local retailers who are charging more than double or demand USD which are very scarce in the country. One is only faced with two option whether to do without or to buy the overpriced goods that is if you afford. As a lockdown measure public transport has been suspended so there is no way one can travel to town were there are competitive ,affordable prices. Necessities like sanitizers are above reach for most locals.
4)Poverty Due to a bad rain season most communities didn’t harvest anything due to the drought. Villagers are wailing in poverty . Food relief programs are not able to cover every household save for a few . Worse still even for those few who are receiving food aid the food aid is not enough to last up to monthend which becomes another challenge. The suspension of the informal sector which was the only way of means of survival for many buried all hopes.
With the lockdown being extended by 2 weeks its a do or die for most villagers. Life is not easy .Most pple are risking their lives trying to make ends meets hence exposing themselves to covid-19. Its hard to choose which is better between dying due to hunger or due to the pandemic.