A former Health Minister has called on government to intensify education and information dissemination on Covid-19 instead of militarising the fight against the pandemic by brutalising members of the public.
Henry Madzorera, a cabinet minister during the now defunct inclusive government, said the Covid-19 pandemic can be effectively fought if citizens took ownership of the battle to flatten the curve.
He also noted local transmission cases as opposed to imported ones have reached alarming levels.
“We cannot manage this epidemic through brutality, education is the most important tool which we can give to our people to manage this epidemic,” Madzorera said.
He said compliance to Covid-19 restrictions by the public were not genuine concerns but out of fear of the police and army brutality.
“We must give information to the people so that they take it and make it their own agenda, not a police roadblock agenda and definitely not a military agenda,” he said.
He noted maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks in public, sanitisation and observing the dusk to dawn restrictions was only followed as people feared the security personnel would harm them.
“People wear masks because they see police and soldiers harassing and beating them up. People generally respond to issues mainly motivated by selfish interests. If they understand why they must comply and how they benefit, compliance will be voluntary.
“If they think they are to satisfy the military and the police’s interests, their compliance will be tailored just to get by and that will not help. Brutality must stop. Let’s take the whole matter of prevention into our own hands.”
Meanwhile, Madzorera has called on the government to release funds for citizen safety nets, better salaries and personal protective equipment (PPEs) for health workers.
“We cannot quarantine people who are hungry. Government promised to give vulnerable groups some money for survival and they must own up. That way people will self-quarantine and stay at home.
“We must have health workers who are motivated and well paid. Our medical practitioners must have PPEs. We cannot force health practitioners without PPEs to go and work, that is suicidal. Government must invest in PPEs for both public and private health personnel,” he said.