Zimbabwean politicians urged not to seek attention on coronavirus

Linda Masarira

MDC president Nelson Chamisa is being irresponsible and desperate to milk political mileage by prematurely announcing cases of COVID-19) coronavirus) in Zimbabwe before authorities and health experts do so, LEAD president Linda Masarira has said.

This was after the MDC leader went on Twitter Saturday morning and said he had “100% verifiable” information that Zimbabwe now had two more new case sof the deadly coronavirus, taking the total cases to three. Health authorities had yet to confirm the cases at the time of publishing.

Responding to Chamisa’s statements, Masarira told Zimbabwe Voice that the MDC leader was being irresponsible and acting beyond his jurisdiction.

“At this time, we need to have official communication. What if it turns out to be false? There is a command center for this to reduce panic.

“The Harare City Council has Dr Prosper Chonzi who is the City Health Director, who should be responsible for such critical announcements. This is a case of state emergency, that information has to be channelled to higher authorities before dissemination for further verification before release so as to control public panic,” said the firebrand Masarira.

She urged unity of purpose and strict adherence to good hygienic practices as well as social distancing measures announced by health care authorities as means of stemming the spread of the pandemic.

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“IT IS TIME TO UNITE TO FIGHT THIS DEADLY VIRUS NOT TO USE IT FOR POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY.”

LINDA T MASARIRA – ZIMBABWE VOICE

Nick Mangwana, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, also rebuked Chamisa and urged political leaders to exercise restraint and let the official government and health channels take the lead in keeping the nation updated.

“In times like this, let every community leader, every institution leader and even political leaders exercise self-restraint in making Covid-19 announcements so the Nation can be given accurate information by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Let’s play our appreciable role by taking these measures,” Mangwana urged.

Some followers of the MDC leader urged him to not create a parallel communication channel to the one being operated by the health authorities who are working with the World Health Organisation and the City of Harare, among other authorities on health and hygiene matters.

However, others said there was nothing wrong with Chamisa making the announcement as long he was churning out verified information.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Harare, Councillor Herbert Gomba, had confirmed the ‘new coronavirus cases’ shortly before Chamisa.

Gomba, writing on social media, called for calm as well as adherence to strict hygiene, social distancing as well as alertness during the trying period for the whole world. – Zimbabwe Voice