One well known Zimbabwean diasporan has raised an important point, instead of shutting down Zimbabwe’s industry completely during the current lockdown, the government should have instead co-opted a select number of businesses to help it fight the spread of COVID-19.

He gave an example of Delta Beverages which has distillation facilities which it uses to make alcohol. Delta’s facilities can be easily converted to make alcohol based sanitisers instead of alcoholic drinks the sale and consumption of which is not encouraged during the lockdown.

Is there any reason why Delta is not making hand-sanitizers when they have all the alcohol distillation infrastructure? Zimbabwe Defense Industries is missing in the covid-19 fight yet they have all the tooling to be making beds, tents etc. Am I missing something?

Freeman Chair on Twitter

The US is doing it

Faced with a resource consuming war against China and North Korea the in the 1950s, the United States passed the Defense Production Act which gives the President of the United States sweeping powers to control domestic industries during emergencies. The Zimbabwe president can easily achieve the same powers, if they don’t exist, via Temporary Presidential Powers.

Via this Act, President Trump has been able to co-opt, suitably equipped businesses into the coronavirus fight. Car manufacturers are now making millions of masks and ventilators instead of cars. Saving thousands of lives in the process.