By Simbarashe Fenton M
Residents in Redcliff have expressed grief amid the covid-19 second wave which saw the government enacting a much tighter 30days lockdown restrictions as the majorities survive on hand to mouth basis.
The escalation in covid-19 cases and death rate led the government to enact a 30-day lockdown with tighter restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the virus and loss of life. This has directly affected a large sect in the country who relies on the informal sector for survival.
With the unemployment rate standing approximately around 90%, most graduates and the majority of Zimbabweans have ventured in the informal sector for survival. Vendors who operate in the streets now make a large chunk of people in the country. This has forced an estimated 4 million people to migrate to other countries such as South Africa and Botswana in search of greener pastures. The lockdown restrictions has made the situation even worse now that it has become difficult for vendors to conduct their income generating efforts as movement has been left to the essential services only.
Speaking with this reporter Rutendo Manhenga, a vendor from Simbi Park in Redcliff expressed distress after the government enacted tighter restrictions which has hampered her water, airtym and fruit business she runs in Kwekwe City Central business area. She also stated the danger which the virus pose and that it will be a good fortune if all Zimbabweans manage to be safe while also bemoaning the economic side which has made life more difficult.
“I want to be safe from this virus it is claiming lives everyday especially here in Kwekwe.The government does not even care for the poor especially us vendors,how am I going to survive I’m no longer allowed to go to sell my products in town, I will starve to death because of this lockdown… “said Manhenga.
With the United Nations Report citing more than 6million Zimbabweans starving, it is disheartening for many residents who claim that little or no effort is being made by the government in easing the poverty burden hovering citizens. This has prompted to more to venture in vending and small projects such as broiler rearing among others so that they put something on the table. but the 30day lockdown has robbed people the freedom to look for money and cater for their essential needs.
“We hardly get customers these days you know, it is because people have been barred to get into town. Only those with letters that give them access to town are allowed in town and the majority of them are the ones from essential services…the situation is not good at all we hope for the better but the truth is this virus is killing,” said a pharmacy worker based in town who identified himself as Mhazo.
Those who offer essential services especially pharmacies and supermarkets are also taking advantage of the situation as prices of basic commodities are sky rocketing making it very difficult for those in the informal sector to acquire the essentials they need.
“The living standards of people have deteriorated so drastically during this covid 19 era as most people in Kwekwe, Redcliff to be precise, survive through vending and Kukorokoza.The lockdown situation forces people to live in their houses without proper source of income and proper source of money to survive during this period,” said Terrence Takafirei Founder and Director of Hope of Saints Charity Organisation.
Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constationo Chiwenga upon enacting the lockdown announced restrictions and guidelines with a national curfew initiated from 6pm to 6am. People are supposed to stay at home except when they want to buy food and medicine. Only examination classes are to return and resume writing. Essential services such as hospitals, super markets and pharmacies will be operating with only essential staff allowed to go to work.
As of 05 January 2021,Zimbabwe has recorded 17 194 covid 19 infections,419 deaths and 11 813 recoveries, with a higher number of unreported infections and deaths cases also being on the rise as there is lack of essential resources for testing and admition of patients.