Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) is concerned with the government’s failure to fulfil obligations of providing vulnerable urban dwellers with cushioning allowance as promised during last year’s lockdown.
The government offered to disburse ZW$600 million to vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe’s urban areas in April 2020.
“ZHRC has observed, from its previous monitoring work (that is between the period March to December 2020), that the strict lockdown measures negatively affected the standards of living of the majority of the populace in both urban and rural communities,” the commission says in a statement.
“The Government in the past had undertaken to provide some cushioning allowances for informal traders and other vulnerable groups. However, as of December 2020, ZHRC noted with concern that these pledges were yet to be fulfilled resulting in some people struggling to access food, among other basic necessities.”
The Commission also revealed reports of the health sector failing to effectively handle positive COVID-19 cases, with some people dying whilst seeking care and admission facilities.
“The health sector raised concerns over limited resources and equipment including the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs),” the commission says.
“The costs of COVID-19 screening remains beyond the reach of the majority, and again no clear measures have been taken regarding easy access to screening facilities by the general populace.”
“The Government of Zimbabwe statement did not address what would be done to improve the capacity of the sector as the fight against COVID-19 continues,” the commission goes on.
Besides the failure to meet obligations, ZHRC also raised concern on the absence of measures to mitigate the effects of restrictions on the population in the current 31 days lockdown.
The commission revealed that such mitigatory measures ensure the satisfaction of economic, social and cultural rights protected in the constitution.
“ZHRC notes that the majority of the population (at least 60%) is in the informal sector, which is amongst those required to shut down operations,” the commission says.