editorial comment

GOVERNMENT’S apparent double standards regarding enforcement of COVID-19 preventive measures cannot go unchallenged.

It would appear government is only keen on banning public gatherings involving opposition and civic groups while ruling party and State functions are allowed to have as many delegates as they so wish.

For instance, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife First Lady Auxillia have been separately criss-crossing the country addressing large gatherings while their opposition counterparts have been consigned to their shells.

Two weeks ago, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, in his capacity as Health minister, suspended by-elections citing COVID-19 fears. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission followed suit and endorsed the decision saying the suspension was meant to discourage large gatherings likely to turn up at campaign rallies.

While at face value it appeared a genuine health concern, it would seem the ban was targeted at the opposition as the ruling Zanu PF party has been given free rein to conduct its primary elections.

Zanu PF has again announced that its annual national people’s conference in December would proceed as scheduled, though the number of delegates would be reduced.

The duplicity or selective application of the law tells a lot about the death of democracy in Zimbabwe. Does it mean that COVID-19 only spreads at other gatherings outside Zanu PF or that its members are immune to the pandemic?

The world surely has eyes to see the selective application of the law in Zimbabwe, and how COVID-19 has been weaponised by Mnangagwa to decimate the opposition. Government has, indeed, used COVI-19 to quarantine democracy.

If Mnangagwa wants the international community to believe his statement at the just-ended United National General Assembly that his government was committed to entrenching democracy, then he ought to walk the talk.

We believe what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Selective application of the law does not fit into the tenets of democracy. The new dispensation, as it calls itself, is not honest in its handling of issues in the country.

Zimbabweans had hoped for a new trajectory when Mnangagwa toppled his long-time boss, the late Robert Mugabe, but it would seem citizens jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

Democracy should not appear as rhetoric, but be seen to be in existence.

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