Early in the week, the president reviewed lockdown regulations following a spike in new coronavirus cases and deaths. New cases have blitzed past the 2 000 mark and deaths are also rising with 32 people having succumbed to Covid-19 so far. When the measures were introduced the public was accused of having stopped following mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines. The government promised stiffer penalties for those who did not wear masks or put them on incorrectly.

Now it seems they have delivered. According to Statutory Instrument 174 of 2020 which was gazetted early this week you will be fined as much as a level 9 fine (currently $36 000) if you don’t put on your mask or put it on incorrectly. Most people have a habit of dropping their masks to their chins uncovering their noses and mouths in the process.

Another bribe door opened

Sure the value of the fine has a shock value to it. $36 000 is a lot of money even if they only Zimbabwean dollars. That is about US$500 which is way beyond what people are earning right now. Civil servants would need about four months to raise this. Which begs the question what where they thinking. Fines are supposed to be a deterrent not stupid and unpayable. This means that a lot of culprits will unlikely be unable to pay this and end up facing jail sentences instead. With prisons already overcrowded netting scores of people and putting them into prison is counter to the goals of fighting Covid-19.

Such fines have also not solved much in times past. It just means the security services now just have more leverage when it comes to negotiating a suitable bribe so they can let offenders go.

Food shops are also not essential

The following business were considered non-essential and can only operate from 8AM up to 3PM:

  • Writing of exams
  • Fuel outlets
  • Restaurants
  • Hunting Safaris
  • Banks, Bureaux de changes
  • Courts of law
  • Parliamentary Committees
  • Supermarkets
  • vegetable markets
  • Commercial and manufacturing enterprises.

The gods in their infinite wisdom have deigned it proper that if you run out of fuel in the middle of the night you have to wait for 8 AM the next morning to fill up.

Download Statutory Instrument 174 of 2020