Zimbabwean opposition takes President to task over ‘forced’ vaccination

Linda Masarira

The opposition Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) says President Mnangagwa’s government must not force citizens into Covid-19 vaccination, saying people still needed to exercise their right of choice when it comes to matters of vaccination.

The party led by Linda Masarira made the comments following President Mnangagwa’s remarks that citizens will be left with little choice except to get vaccinated. He made the statement in Bulawayo last week where he just fell short of announcing that if the nation was to come under a hard lockdown, free movement could only be allowed for those who would have been fully vaccinated.

But LEAD says inasmuch as the fight against Covid-19 must intensify, Government had no business applying subtle force and threats to citizens. Government must instead educate the public on the advantages and purpose of vaccination, said the opposition party.

“LEAD expresses unhappiness with the sourCOVID-19 9 policies being made by the President of Zimbabwe Cde ED Mnangagwa. The move of not be able to trade if one is not vaccinated is being insensitive to the socioeconomic plight of most Zimbabweans who rely on informal trade, worse still at a time like this when the vaccination is scarce,” said LEAD publicity secretary Rosline Ncube.

“We are not surprised that the Mnangagwa government has decided to force people to get vaccinated using their socioeconomic challenges. We all want this pandemic to be over thus people have to be vaccinated.

“However we can’t go around forcing people and threatening them to be vaccinated. Instead government should put resources on awareness campaign programs and give people more information about the vaccination program rather than threatening people.”

LEAD implored government to increase efforts on educating every Zimbabwean on the importance of getting vaccinated “even if it reaches the extent of going door to door.”

Said Ncube: “Government should commit resources towards purchasing the vaccine rather we are waiting for donations from other countries. The Ministry of Health and Child welfare should stop being dependent on donations and purchase the vaccination for Zimbabwe to reach herd immunity.

“The population of Zimbabwe is about 15 million, if everyone decides to be vaccinated, will the government be able to meet the demand? It’s a fact that there’s no vaccine currently so it’s highly insensible to start coming up with ridiculous policies.

“Moreso, Government must be clear on whether the vaccination process is still subject to personal needs and opinion or it is now mandatory.”

The LEAD spokesperson further said Government should recruit people who go down to the grassroots and find out the sentiment of those on the ground on why they are not being vaccinated.

This will assist government to enforce action plans that work to get people vaccinated willingly, she said.

Government took delivery of 500 000 Sinopharm vaccine doses together with the syringes last Saturday. The development saw a sharp rise in the number of daily vaccinations countrywide, with Government targeting 4 million people vaccinated in the next 60 days. – Zimbabwe Voice ■