Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Army, police lock down Harare CBD

By Moses Matenga

Police and soldiers yesterday locked down central Harare, ordering jay walkers and those not formally employed to go back home.

Two Zimbabwean soldiers wearing balaclavas shout orders to street vendors and money changers in the Copacabana market in Harare, on August 2, 2018. (Photograph by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two Zimbabwean soldiers wearing balaclavas shout orders to street vendors and money changers in the Copacabana market in Harare, on August 2, 2018. (Photograph by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, following the easing of the lockdown restrictions by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a lot of people flooded Harare’s central business district and ended up stranded for transport back home as the Zupco buses could not cope with the pressure.

Others ended up walking to the Zupco depot in Coventry late into the night to plead for transport.

But yesterday, police and the military mounted roadblocks on many routes leading to the city centre and ordered people who were not at work to go back home so that only those with “genuine” business remain in the city.

A convoy of army and police trucks went around the city centre warning wanderers against unnecessary movement saying COVID-19 was not yet over.

“Go home if you have no business in the city centre. Please go home or risk the consequences if you are caught. COVID-19 is not yet over, go home if you have nothing to do in the city centre,” the police shouted.

More than 95% of Zimbabweans are in the informal sector and have been hard hit by the lockdown that has been in place since March 30.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi could not immediately comment on the operations asking for questions in writing.

A snap survey around most suburbs showed that it was now business as usual as informal traders were back at work.

Hundreds were seen working around Mbare, with Siyaso, a populous light industrial area, having sprung back to life.

Mnangagwa on Saturday indefinitely extended the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He said inter-city travel remained restricted, but operating hours for shops and supermarkets were extended. He said there would be two-week reviews to assess the situation. NewsDay

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