No gatherings on Independence day: President

11 Apr, 2021 - 00:04 0 Views
No gatherings on Independence day: President

The Sunday News

Victoria Ruzvidzo, Harare Bureau
Zimbabweans should not be tempted to form gatherings in celebrating the impending 41st Independence anniversary on April 18 but should, instead, uphold the measures put in place by Government and World Health Organisation’s Covid- 19 protocols, President Mnangagwa has cautioned.

This comes as Zimbabwe has registered a spike in infections, with 11 deaths and 236 cases in the last week, the highest such figures in six weeks. At least 15 schools countrywide had some of their students and teachers testing positive after failing to heed the Presidential order to desist from going back home during the Easter Holidays.

In an interview at State House in Harare yesterday, the President said although Zimbabweans were in a festive mood as Independence commemorations draw closer, it would be unfortunate were they to throw caution away in the process.

“Whereas I would love to see our population reveling day and night celebrating this freedom, this independence which gives our people dignity and self-determination, but because of the Covid-19 conditions I appeal to our people to restrain from massive gatherings. Let them observe the measures we have put in place.

“The WHO protocols must be observed. For instance just now as a result of this Easter that has passed again there is a spike in cases. I would not encourage our people to assemble in huge groups, let us take these measures and preserve the lives of ourselves, our beloved ones and everyone’s life.

“It is important. Enjoying ourselves will always be there when the time is correct, when the time is suitable for us to do so.”

The President said Zimbabwe’s vaccination programme and the success rate so far, was now an envy of many, with countries and organisations from outside appealing for their leaders to come over to get vaccinated.

He said the doors would be open for such cases but stressed that all foreigners will pay for the vaccinations but this remained free for Zimbabweans locally and in the diaspora. Vaccinations had since been opened up to every Zimbabwean following the importation of more vaccines over the last few weeks.

“I have been approached by several countries as well as organisations and individuals wanting to send their leaders to Zimbabwe to be vaccinated here because they think that we are doing well.

“But I am saying that for all Zimbabweans whoever they are, local or in the diaspora if they come here they will receive the vaccine for free but anybody else if they come here they will receive the vaccine at a cost.

“This is a human element where we cannot deny anybody but if you are not Zimbabwean we will give you the vaccine at a cost but if you are Zimbabwean the Government of Zimbabwe is giving you for free.”

But he cautioned that the vaccination was not a guarantee against infection but it reduces the infection rate and vulnerability. So far more than 150 000 people have been vaccinated, with more visiting health centres to receive their jabs. Government has opened more vaccination centres countrywide to facilitate easy access. The President himself was vaccinated last month in Victoria Falls.

“We chose Victoria Falls because we felt that Victoria Falls is our tourist destination totally important to Zimbabwe and it is necessary that we achieved herd immunity there.

“So I avoided to get vaccinated when the first consignment came and I had my Vice-President take it because the plans were that I should do it in Victoria Falls to demonstrate to the people of Victoria Falls to come forward and be vaccinated and achieve herd immunity so that tourists coming to Victoria Falls know that the entire population of 50 000 people will be vaccinated and when I informed my colleagues, the principals of political parties, they accepted to come.”

The President was accompanied by MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora and 22 other political leaders who all received their vaccines. He was thankful that the leaders came with him in a demonstration of the unity of purpose.

“That was the most beautiful thing, this is what should happen on a daily basis. I had leaders from the political parties who agreed to accompany me to Victoria Falls. So when I was there people were gathered and I said I know as you are gathered there not all of you support Zanu-PF. Here are leaders of political parties. If your leader is not here it’s not my fault.

“I think that people appreciated it because as the vaccination teams were going round there was no discrimination in terms of political affiliation and I said the virus has no political affiliation. It has affiliation with human beings so as long as you are human it will attack you, it doesn’t matter which political party you belong to or church, it will affect you,” he said.

This is a human element where we cannot deny anybody but if you are not Zimbabwean we will give you the vaccine at a cost but if you are Zimbabwean the Government of Zimbabwe is giving you for free.”

But he cautioned that the vaccination was not a guarantee against infection but it reduces the infection rate and vulnerability. So far more than 150 000 people have been vaccinated, with more visiting health centres to receive their jabs. Government has opened more vaccination centres countrywide to facilitate easy access. The President himself was vaccinated last month in Victoria Falls.

“ We chose Victoria Falls because we felt that Victoria Falls is our tourist destination totally important to Zimbabwe and it is necessary that we achieved herd immunity there. So I avoided to get vaccinated when the first consignment came and I had my Vice President take it because the plans were that I should do it in Victoria Falls to demonstrate to the people of Victoria Falls to come forward and be vaccinated and achieve herd immunity so that tourists coming to Victoria Falls know that the entire population of 50 00 people will be vaccinated and when I informed my colleagues, the principals of political parties, they accepted to come.”

The President was accompanied by MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora and 22 other political leaders who all received their vaccines. He was thankful that the leaders came with him in a demonstration of the unity of purpose.

“That was the most beautiful thing, this is what should happen on a daily basis. I had leaders from the political parties who agreed to accompany me to Victoria Falls. So when I was there people were gathered and I said I know as you are gathered there not all of you support Zanu PF. Here are leaders of political parties. If your leader is not here it’s not my fault.

“I think that people appreciated it because as the vaccination teams were going round there was no discrimination in terms of political affiliation and I said the virus has no political affiliation. It has affiliation with human beings so as long as you are human it will attack you, it doesn’t matter which political party you belong to or church, it will affect you,” he said.

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