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Mnangagwa moves to diffuse tension

by Staff reporter
05 Apr 2020 at 08:58hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa had to step in yesterday to ease rising tensions in the country over the ongoing national coronavirus lockdown - moving to allow vegetable traders to continue selling their produce during the current shutdown.

This came after police confiscated agricultural produce in Mutare and also fought running battles with jaywalkers and vegetable vendors in Harare's Kuwadzana 4 high density suburb - after they resisted orders not to breach physical distancing regulations.

In a bid to quell the rising local tensions over the ongoing national lockdown, Mnangagwa moved swiftly to allow farmers and other agricultural produce traders to continue with their businesses despite the lockdown — which enters day six today.

When the president initially announced the 21-day lockdown on March 27, he had left the question of this group of traders open-ended — leaving police and ordinary people wondering what the exact official position was.

However, in the aftermath of the brouhaha caused by the police's raid on hordes of vegetable vendors in Mutare yesterday, as well as the skirmishes in Harare, Mnangagwa moved with speed to clarify the confusion.

"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 agriculture activity must remain undisturbed throughout the period of the lockdown," Mnangagwa said.

"All our producers must continue to feed our nation with minimum hustles," he added, while also paying tribute to the public for having generally heeded the lockdown to date.

Earlier, police and municipal health officers had made a pre-dawn raid at the popular Sakubva market in Mutare — where an estimated 300 farmers and vendors had brought their produce for trading, but were forced to flee, leaving behind tonnes of tomatoes, green vegetables and onions.

This triggered a huge public uproar which saw human rights groups slamming the government for having "disregard" for poor people.

Source - dailynews