No, this is an outright lie! We did not request accommodation at the hotel: Case n ° 0 | ZIM NEWS
In fact, and for the avoidance of doubt, I am one of the returning residents who came via an Ethiopian airline yesterday (Monday).
I don’t want to tire you out with a long read. So I’m going to get right to the point. Yesterday, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Nick Mangwana, tweeted that we returnees abroad were asking for hotels. No, this is an outright lie! We did not request hotel accommodation.
I was shocked when I read the tweet that many Zimbabweans believed in, including those claiming to be frontline human rights defenders.
And the Fourth Estate, too, has been deceived. Here is the reverse side of the coin. Like any other Zimbabwean citizen with rights, including access to shelter, water and health, among other basic amenities, we asked to be accommodated in a decent facility.
Decent on basic health as defined by health organizations in the wake of the coronavirus. By basic facilities we meant at least one room with a bed and blankets; toilets with running water and clean bathrooms,
Belvedere, a facility provided by government authorities does not have all of these. And the government image specialists led by Mangwana want all Zimbabweans and the rest of the world to praise the government for a job well done when in fact what they are doing is exposing returning residents. in COVID-19, a pandemic government claims to be trying to stop.
The fact that hundreds of desperate students live in slums like Belvedere without complaint doesn’t make it a habitable place.
The fact that other citizens returning via the Plumtree and Beitbridge ports of entry have agreed to be accommodated in dirty, stinky and cholera infested facilities is also not correct and does not indicate at all that the Zimbabwean government cares about its citizens.
If this treatment of citizens by the Zimbabwean authorities has anything to show, it is that the authorities who have presided over poor infrastructure, including hospitals, do not care at all about protecting their citizens from COVID-19.
While we understand this is an abnormal situation, a time of crisis, no self-righteous Zimbabwean should praise the government for treating its returning citizens like animals.
When we got to Belvedere we thought the authorities had already assessed the place and certified it habitable. While we didn’t expect anything flashy given that this is a temporary emergency quarantine facility, we didn’t expect to be thrown into a place that does not have the necessary health care facilities. basic amenities such as running water.
To make matters worse, the government officials who came to talk to us about our concerns were arrogant. This is the case, for example, when a senior official in the Ministry of Civil Service, Labor and Social Welfare threatened to unleash the police on us, to force us to occupy uninhabitable accommodation.
“If you do not comply, we will ask the police to enforce our orders,” told us the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs who should otherwise better know the government’s obligations regarding the care of vulnerable people, we including.
He added: “You can’t choose where to stay, we’ve chosen for you.”
This was after we asked to be quarantined at home or put in a decent facility. Alternatively, we have asked the government authorities to open one of the hotels so that we pay the living expenses ourselves while the government provides food.
We have also made it clear to government authorities that we are prepared to be quarantined like other returning citizens, but only if the minimum conditions are met.
To those who insulted returning residents, their full-time jobs during this ongoing crisis; Be aware that while we understand the importance of being isolated from the rest of the community now, the conditions that return residents face will spread the spread of COVID-19.
Although most of us come from coronavirus hotspots, we don’t necessarily have the disease, but due to our poor living conditions in quarantine, we are now more at risk of contracting the deadly disease than other citizens, but the government should protect everyone equally.
And while some of you lament, thinking that going home is the dumbest thing to do, remember that some of the returnees are students whose accommodation has been taken away by their universities in countries like the Kingdom. United and the United States.
And also remember that some of the returning residents are people who have just visited for shorter periods and therefore cannot live in these countries indefinitely.
After all, it is better to die in Zimbabwe where your family can bury you within 24 hours than to die elsewhere where your family cannot access your remains.
And by the way, returning residents also have homes where they can self-quarantine and provide basic services that our government fails to meet.
While most of us are ready to be quarantined, we also don’t understand why authorities are imposing 21-day isolation, instead of the 14 days approved by the WHO.
Why should a cash-strapped government seek to accommodate returning citizens for an additional 7 days at its own expense when it can use these resources to meet the needs of more vulnerable communities already bearing the brunt of the extended lockdown, with barely any food?
And while you, the naysayers, support the government for a blatant human rights violation in the name of fighting COVID-19, remember that the government you allow to abuse its returning citizens is not will not stop there.
After COVID 19, this government will continue to violate civil rights because you allowed it to do so during a crisis.
Last but not least, Mangwana, we appreciate your hard work in keeping the nation up to date on COVID-19, especially using real-time platforms such as Twitter.
But I just have one request: please stop releasing any information of public interest. It does not help your government and the citizens who should be making informed decisions during this unprecedented time.
And gullible Zimbabweans, please always take what government officials say with a pinch of salt. 99.9% of what they say is false or half true.
The worst you can get from government authorities is a single story. Find the other story before you decide on matters of public interest.
There is still no running water in Belvedere.
Contrary to reports, the police did not guard Belvedere so that the returnees did not revolt or at worst escape. Three police officers came, spoke to returnees and then left after a friendly discussion.
No matter what the authorities say, we will not stay where we risk catching more viral illnesses in addition to the coronavirus.
We will fight for our rights until we are relocated to an establishment that meets the basic conditions: running water, single room, functional sanitary facilities, bedding and food.
Finally, let’s just say my name is Case # 0