BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

HUMAN rights lobby group, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has accused government of exhibiting a sluggish response to the worldwide coronavirus disaster, claiming there was a tragic display of denialism and lack of value for human life.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Tuesday declared coronavirus a state of national disaster, but critics say his declaration has not been accompanied by proactive action from his government to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

ZimRights yesterday said Zimbabwe has been in a state of disaster for a while, with a struggling economy and a broken health system that has continued to impact negatively on the livelihoods of ordinary people. It is with such a background that the coronavirus disaster demanded a more serious, preventive approach.

“After the declaration of the national disaster, it was clear that the government had taken this step as a ceremonial gesture to simply be seen to be in sync with trends in the region after South Africa had made a bold declaration in tackling the deadly virus,” ZimRights said in a statement.

The human rights lobby group said Mnangagwa, who travelled to Namibia for the inauguration of Namibian President Hage Geingob last Friday, could have aborted the inauguration to attend to the problems at home.

ZimRights said government’s management of the disaster had not reflected the urgency that the matter requires, accusing government of adopting a “business as usual approach”, contrary to exemplary leadership in other parts of the world.

“Businesses continue to run as usual, all ports of entry are open and there is no thorough screening of people coming into the country,” ZimRights said.

“The situation at the country’s airports and border posts does not reflect the seriousness that the disaster demands. Reliable sources in the medical sector have confirmed the sorry state of affairs in the country’s hospitals. The government has remained mum on this situation.”

ZimRights is concerned that Zimbabwe is on the brink of a major tragedy in history; a quick survey around the country has shown a very dangerous state of affairs, with people crowding in banks and packed in Zupco buses.

The leadership, ZimRights said, must step forward and lead with care and compassion and take strict measures to stop the inflow of human traffic in the country from high-risk countries.

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