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Mnangagwa rebukes lockdown police for seizing and burning farm produce

by Staff reporter
04 Apr 2020 at 12:17hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday ordered police to allow farmers to deliver their produce to markets in urban centres after shocking pictures emerged of police burning a truckload of vegetables in Mutare.

Police have been accused of misinterpreting regulations issued in support of a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus by taking draconian measures, including arresting shoppers, banning the sale of liquor and stopping farmers from travelling to cities and towns with their fresh farm produce.

Police earlier Friday made a U-turn on the alcohol ban, instead saying alcohol sales would be allowed but consumption should only take place in private homes.

Mnangagwa said in a televised address: "It's integral that we keep our economy moving forward during this period of lockdown. Food supply should be guaranteed with minimum shocks or disruptions. Farmers must continue to produce for our nation even under conditions of lockdown. Farmers and traders alike must equally continue to deliver produce to markets including to those markets that supply our cities, towns and growth points.

"To that end, I direct our security arms to ensure a pathway for food supply. All agricultural activity must remain undisturbed throughout the period of the lockdown. All our producers must continue to feed the nation with minimum hassles."

Mutare police raided a market in Sakubva suburb at around 3AM on Friday as rural farmers delivered truckloads of green vegetables and tomatoes. The seized produce was burned.

Images of the incident drew outrage from Zimbabweans on social media, jolting authorities. Police have faced accusations of targeting hungry citizens who are rounded up after venturing out to buy the scarce maize meal staple.

Source - zimlive