The Zimbabwe Independent

Police, Mbare gig, drugs and illicit alcohol

- Twitter: @MuckrakerZ­im

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police surely isn’t serious. After the probe into the New Year’s unsanction­ed gig in Mbare, all they got was that “the senior officer and junior members did not perform their duties according to police set standards and government’s Covid-19 regulation­s in handling the illegal Mbare musical bash held by DJ Fantan and his associates on 31st December 2020”.

What exactly was the police investigat­ing? It was obvious from the onset that law enforcemen­t agents had not stopped the show and that bit didn’t need investigat­ion. Interestin­gly, the police went on to inform the public that similar unsanction­ed shows had been “recorded in various parts of the capital city”.

It should have been obvious to the police these functions were not spontaneou­s and went beyond just singing and dancing. e million-dollar question the police ought to have investigat­ed was: what are these shows all about and who organises them. ere was no entrance fee; people just came and danced the night away.

In these times of penury, there can’t be any free shows. Musicians have been badly hit by Covid-19-induced lockdowns, and given any chance to perform they would demand money. (And, indeed, they did.)

e shows were dubbed, “2021 Welcome Passa Passa — Zimdanceha­ll meets Helmets”. Performers were reported to have included some of the biggest names in dancehall.

ere are two hints that the police ought to have tried to unravel: what do the terms “passa-passa” and “Helmets” mean and what was in it for the performers?

When the police visited the scene the following morning did they see just used condoms and empty bottles of alcoholic beverages?

Such parties have become common the world over and have a sinister agenda. e illicit drug problem has grown in countries around the world and Zimbabwe cannot be an exception.

In some countries drug lords handsomely pay performers to pull crowds to a free event where runners push (passa-passa) drugs and illicit alcohol around. ey also pay the police to look aside and shut their mouths.

But our police were thinking of just one thing, Covid-19, so they saw the event simply as a coronaviru­s super-spreader. But that’s okay if they think the drug problem isn’t an issue they have to deal with urgently, so in the meantime people could continue to pass the kouchie.

Deadly wave

THE second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has come with a vengeance; it is doing to Zimbabwe what the first phase didn’t do namely, kill as many people in its wake as possible. e carnage is already scary from whichever angle one looks at it. e statistics are stark: Zimbabwe recorded 1 365 positive cases and 34 deaths on Tuesday alone setting a new trend of rising infections and deaths that’s likely to continue for some time.

As someone put it very poignantly, “ e numbers are turning into names, and those names are people we know.” In the first wave, maybe one in every 100 people had someone they knew who contracted, let alone died of, Covid-19. No longer; now nearly everyone knows someone who has succumbed to the disease.

at’s why there’s something curious about the current lockdown! Putting the country on Level 4 is probably a good thing but a lot of loopholes remain unaddresse­d. Here’s one such loophole: do the people who work in the so-called essential services live in isolation? At the end of their shift do mine workers remain in the mine shafts? Do farm workers remain on the farms?

ey go back home to family where — if by some chance, which is very likely, they have been exposed to the virus by coworkers — they transmit it to their spouses and children and any other people they live in proximity with. e virus spreads exponentia­lly, so one infected mineworker could spread the virus to a whole community.

e point is: the concept of essential services, though economical­ly sound, does nothing to make the lockdown effective. It is known that in a community, people hardly ever keep indoors. e women go out to the borehole pump to fetch water, go to the market to get provisions and some such chores which bring them into contact with other people. e men too have daily responsibi­lities they can’t forgo. So, the essential worker still remains embedded in the community and becomes a conduit of disease between workmates and the community.

A lockdown should be a lockdown; it should be a total shutdown! is could have been simple if science had been involved. What’s the incubation period of the SARS-CoV-2?

“ e incubation period is the number of days between when you're infected with something and when you might see symptoms. Health care profession­als and government officials use this number to decide how long people need to stay away from others during an outbreak.

“ e incubation period of Covid-19, which is the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset, is on average 5-6 days, but can be as long as 14 days.”

us, quarantine should be in place for 14 days from the last exposure to a confirmed case.

erefore Vice-President Constantin­o Chiwenga should have announced a 14-day total shutdown — that is, a lockdown without exception — for 14 days! After those 14 days it would have been easy to know who is infected and who is not; which are the hotspots and which are not; and thereafter appropriat­e action taken.

A banana republic?

WHO would have thought one day the derogative “banana republic” would be used in the same sentence as the mighty United States?

On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s supporters breached the Capitol and guns were drawn leaving one woman and three others dead in medical emergencie­s. As a result of the demonstrat­ions, the joint session of Congress certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was temporaril­y suspended and forced into recess.

e siege of the US Capitol received condemnati­on from the American people and from around the globe.

Pro-Trump Republican representa­tive Mike Gallagher described the assault on the seat of US power as “banana republic crap”. “We are witnessing absolute banana republic crap in the United States Capitol right now,” he tweeted.

e term normally associated with the worst countries of the developing world, particular­ly in Africa and Latin America, “describes a politicall­y unstable country with an economy dependent upon the exportatio­n of a limited-resource product, such as bananas or minerals”.

Pennsylvan­ia Governor Tom Wolf on his Twitter handle wrote that the scenes were evidence of “an attempted coup”.

“What we’re seeing today is not democracy — it’s an attempted coup. We had a free and fair election.”

Former Nato Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis, a retired US Navy Supreme Allied Commander, said the events that unfolded on Wednesday in Washington would be remembered in history like the 9/11 terrorist attack.

He tweeted: “ is is a 9/11 level event directed against democracy in our national history.”

anks to the US institutio­ns the mob was dispersed, peace restored and the certificat­ion of Biden as the next president of the US was allowed to continue. But what Trump attempted to do is what every American president has attempted to do in every country in the world where election results have not favoured a candidate of their choice.

Just as American institutio­ns prevailed without foreign interferen­ce, US presidents should allow the institutio­ns of other countries to solve their own problems.

“We are witnessing absolute banana republic crap in the United States Capitol right now.”

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