Zimbabwe

Govt warns defiant businesses, errant cops

Minister Kazembe

Mukudzei Chingwere

Herald Reporter

Businesses violating Covid-19 mitigatory measures risk losing their licences, while police officers who do not discharge their duties correctly will be punished as the Government activates its systems in response to the deadly pandemic.

Besides losing licences, the business owners will be prosecuted and will have to account for their actions.

Speaking at a media briefing in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe warned those involved in illegal activities that they would face the full wrath of the law.

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He said patrols had been heightened in suburbs, shopping centres and law enforcement agents would even be checking houses to account for transgressors.

“Police officers will move around all suburbs, shopping centres and even check houses to account for transgressions against Covid-19 regulations and other criminal activities.

“I urge the public to report to any nearest police station, individuals or groups holding parties or musical events or any other gatherings not sanctioned under Covid-19 regulations.

“Organisers of such events will face the wrath of the law and risk losing their licences.”

Minister Kazembe said they were concerned with bars, nightclubs, restaurants and other business entities that were operating yet according to Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021, they had been banned from doing so.

The Commissioner-General of Police had been directed to account for all those contravening Covid-19 regulations, while public figures were urged to lead by example in fighting the pandemic.

The minister said the law would take its course and there would be no sacred cows in dealing with violators of the regulations put in place to confront the pandemic that is threatening to overwhelm the health services.

“I am equally disturbed by some shopping centres in some areas in the country which are now known for wild parties, beer drinking binges and all sorts of illegalities. This should stop forthwith.

“My ministry strongly condemns acts of misconduct by police officers which tarnish the image of the Government and the police in particular,” he said.

Minister Kazembe said his ministry did not condone the smashing of vehicle windscreens or windows by police officers and also urged the media to report correctly following a widely circulated clip of an officer who allegedly struck a baby with a baton.

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Speaking at the same press briefing Deputy Commissioner General of Police Stephen Mutamba reiterated the call for adherence.

He said action was taken against the officers who threw teargas canisters into a bus last year emphasising that they will not tolerate delinquent behaviour by their members.

Some who defied the regulations had already paid the price. Three organisers of the illegal New Year’s eve music gig held in Mbare, Harare, were this week jailed for violating Covid-19 national lockdown regulations.

Damma, born Simbarashe Chanachimwe, Arnold Kamudyariwa (DJ Fantan) and Tafadzwa Kadzimwe (DJ Levelz) are now serving an effective six months behind bars.

Police also suspended four officers for failing to enforce national lockdown regulations on New Year’s eve, after they allowed the show to go ahead in an area within their jurisdiction.

Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga announced wide ranging restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the pandemic that is on a steep rise.

Health experts have hailed these measures in controlling the rapid spread of infections but there has been concern over of lack of adherence by some sections of society.

HERALD