We may not be experts in Covid-19 matters, but it does not need rocket science to see that there are many things that authorities and citizens of Zimbabwe are not doing right in dealing with this devastating pandemic.
Right from simple compliance with Covid-19 international rules; to the fairly complex issues to do with treatment of symptoms, Zimbabweans seem to be missing the point quite badly — with grievous consequences.
Our police continue to pack in overloaded trucks, people whom they would have rounded up for failing to wear face masks or for other Covid-19 protocol violations such as failure to produce movement passes. The trucks are offloaded into crowded police cells where the people are kept for hours in highly contagious conditions.
Every day across the country, many hundreds of people catch the coronavirus through this reckless and counterproductive attempt at curbing the spread of Covid-19. The government can surely come up with better methods of enforcing compliance without making the situation worse by facilitating more infections through this barbaric way of doing things.
It is this failure to notice and stop such simple wrongs that leads to authorities finding themselves spreading the virus amongst themselves by holding wild parties where all caution is thrown out the window. Parties have been held, where top government authorities, including government ministers, were seen without face masks, and crowded; merry-making with reckless abandon, even as Covid-19 statistics were already scary.
When they hosted those wild parties in Harare, Mutare and many other places that were kept away from public glare, they must have felt like invincible little gods that could fend off even disease with the back of their hands.
Politicians and government officials have been violating their own rules left, right and centre. They refuse to abide by the worldwide rules to maintain social distance, to wear face masks, not to congregate and to sanitise. They also break their own lockdown regulations — travelling all over the country to attend illegal parties and congregating for political meetings and even holding elections.
It is no wonder that death has begun to visit them — grisly evidence of the consequences of arrogant impunity. Horrid proof of what happens to leaders that tend to believe they are little gods. Leaders had come to believe that because they have the money and the power, disease fears them.
Impervious to common wisdom, our leaders had become blind to the dangers of Covid-19 and seemed to have forgotten that they are mere mortals.
The World Health Organisation advises that bodies of deceased persons be buried within 24 hours. There are sound health reasons for such recommendations, but in Zimbabwe this rule is broken at will when it comes to government officials.
The late Provincial minister Ellen Gwaradzimba was buried three days after her death while Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, who died last Wednesday, will be buried seven days later, this Wednesday.
When leaders flagrantly flout rules like this, citizens begin to lose confidence and trust and do not feel encouraged to obey the rules. It will not be easy to convince the masses about the dangers lurking out there and the need to protect themselves.