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Fake news during the COVID-19 pandemic irks Mnangagwa's govt

25 Jan 2021 at 16:05hrs | Views
The secretary for Home Affairs, Aaron Nhepera, has issued a stern warning to those who are "spreading falsehoods" about the health and death of national leaders.

Nhepera, a former deputy director-general of Central Intelligence, said vice-presidents Chiwenga and Mohadi are well.

Authorities have said this causes "alarm and despondency", colonial terms used to suppress freedom of expression.

Below is Nheperera's statement:

Government has noted with deep concern, recent developments where mainstream media, social media and individuals are spreading falsehoods on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the nation's leadership.
It is unacceptable and unethical to publish falsehoods in a democratic society.

Some of the falsehoods that have been peddled include suggestions that the Honourable Vice President General Rtd. Dr. Constantino G.D.N Chiwenga was unwell and had been airlifted to China for medical treatment

Honourable Vice President Col Rtd K.C.D Mohadi was equally said to have been indisposed and recuperating at home.

Around midnight on 22 January 2021, the Deputy President of Senate, Lieutenant General Rtd Mike Nyambuya was reported through social media, to have succumbed to Covid-19 related complications.

Many other prominent personalities, including the Zanu PF National Political Commissar Cde Victor Matemadanda and the ruling party's Secretary for Finance, Cde Patrick Chinamasa were also subjected to similar falsehoods.

Let us be reminded that such acts have the effect of causing alarm and despondency, not only to the individuals affected and their families but to the nation as a whole. This has a destabilising effect at a time the nation is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of the public are urged to desist from such tendencies that infringe on other people's rights and cause unnecessary distress and anguish among the people affected.

It is, however, a fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to our social circles, affecting as it has done, close family members, acquaintances, colleagues and many others dear to us. This is indeed a reality but which gives no justification for anyone to spread blatant falsehoods that have the effect of destabilising the nation.

Our focus as law-abiding citizens should be on strict observance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations on Covid-19 and adherence to the national lockdown restrictions. His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde E.D Mnangagwa summed it up during his Address to the Nation on 23 January 2021 when he said;
"...Now is the time to strengthen that unity, determination and shared sense of purpose. We face a new kind of war, but a war nevertheless. We face a new enemy, but a common enemy nevertheless.

As before, we summon that inner resource, individually and collectively, to yet again win the war, vanquish the enemy. You, me, all of us, acting singly and collectively to one shared end. You, me, all of us becoming each and one another's keeper.

We must mask up, wearing our masks properly, at all times covering the nose and mouth. We must stay at home, only leaving our homes when it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable. We must practice maximum hygiene at all times, in all places. We must practice social distance: as individuals, as families and as communities. We must stop going to private parties and gatherings. We must report suspicious cases of returnees."

This is what we should be focusing on, this is what will save our lives and this is what will make us win the war.

I thank you.
A.D.T Nhepera

Source - A.D.T Nhepera
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