Zimbabwe has followed in the footsteps of South Africa by banning the sale of alcohol in supermarkets during the latest lock-down. As with the South African measure which was later declared unconstitutional by the Western Cap High Court, Zimbabwean authorities cannot really explain how banning the sale of alcohol is supposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 at all. This is propably another case of government partenalistic government overreach that would probably not survive scrutiny.

The only places that were allowed to sell alcohol are hotels for their residents. If there’s a bottle store in a supermarket it’s supposed to be closed. The SI banned the sale of alcohol in bottle stores, supermarkets, except hotels. Those chain supermarkets have segments, if they have a bottle store in the supermarkets they should be closed. I think they are correct if they are stopping the sale of alcohol.

Bottle stores and bars are potentially hazardous places for the spread of Covid-19.  Generally, alcohol leads to non-compliance. Our aim is to ensure that people comply and stay at home and we arrest new infections.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi

This is as bizarre as it gets. People don’t drink in supermarkets, they buy their alcohol and take it home. Why are tourists being allowed to drink and not residents? This is just like the kombi ban where overcrowded ZUPCO buses are allowed on the road while kombis remain banned. Nothing about this alcohol ban makes sense. The fact that locals are banned while tourists who are mostly white can imbibe smacks of colonialist laws that banned locals from drinking spirits and whiskey.

As already said such a ban would very unlikely stand up to scrutiny but the Zimbabwean government likely has an ace up their sleeves. The Judicial Services Commission has said it will not be accepting new suits during the lockdown period. So how are people supposed to challenge these ridiculous pronouncements?

This ban is also going to have a severe impact on big companies like Delta that employ thousands of people. Considering the government has not been providing help to businesses and individuals the least they can do is make sure that their lock-down impacts the country’s economy in the least way possible.