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Chamisa's MP wants govt to provide free masks

by Staff reporter
04 May 2020 at 08:23hrs | Views
OPPOSITION MDC Alliance MP Dorcas Sibanda (Bulawayo Central) yesterday challenged government to provide free face masks and mealie-meal to citizens under lockdown to entice them to stay indoors and be compliant.

Sibanda told Southern Eye that most residents could not afford the cost of masks some of which are sold at $70 - enough to buy a 10kg bag of mealie-meal.

Statutory Instrument (SI) 99 of 2020 made the wearing of face masks mandatory by essential service providers, including commerce and industry.

However, SI 99 of 2020 was amended in section 4 (1) and it now reads: "Every individual who by this order is permitted to leave his or her home to be in any public space must wear a face mask (whether improvised or manufactured, and whether or not of a standard specified in the Public Health (Standards for Personal Protective Apparel, Materials and Equipment) Regulations 2020, published in Statutory Instrument 92 of 2020)".

Sibanda said: "As an MP for Bulawayo, I have told people to improvise by making masks from old pillowcases and old clothes because there is no way they can afford to purchase cloth to make masks when they cannot even afford a mealie-meal packet. Does the government want people to end up making masks from old underwear?

"Right now, mealie-meal is being sold to the people instead of it being given for free like what happens in other countries. If political parties were able to give lots of party regalia to their supporters during elections then why are we as a country failing to give everyone masks to protect against COVID-19?" she asked.

Sibanda said there were reports that some people were being ejected from Zupco buses and supermarkets for failure to have a face mask.

"That is why it is important for the government to provide everyone with masks in order to ensure some corrupt individuals do not end up profiting by sewing and selling expensive masks to people," she said.

Sibanda said it was high time Parliament was recalled to sit because some of the SIs that the government was coming up with have issues that needed serious Parliament scrutiny.

Civic society group, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) also said there was poor communication on lockdowns by the government.

"The government's information on instituting the lockdowns was not communicated effectively, but rather came hard and fast without giving citizens adequate time to prepare," Zimcodd said in a statement.

Source - newsday