The government has been exposed for its skewed attempt to create public sentiment against the 62 Zimbabwean nationals who travelled from the UK yesterday by claiming that the returnees demanded that Harare accommodates them at a hotel instead of Belvedere Teachers’ College for Covid-19 quarantining.
According to latest reports, the UK returnees who touched down Robert Mugabe International Airport aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight protested over the squalid conditions and unavailability of running water at the teacher training institution which has since been turned to a Covid-19 quarantine facility, but did not demand hotel accomodation.
It has since emerged that the Government intended to forcibly and unilaterally place the UK returnees at a facility which practically had no running water, and in a move aimed at covering up for Harare’s shortcomings, spokesperson Ndavaningi ‘Nick’ Mangwana falsely claimed on Twitter that the new arrivals had demanded hotel accomodation for mandatory quarantine.
“The government can’t afford (hotel accomodation for the returnees). Why come from a Covid-19 hotspot during a lockdown and demand posh facilities at stretched public cost?” Mangwana posted on his official Twitter handle.
The online Zimlive reported that the returnees also dissented after having realised that apart from the unavailability of running water at Belvedere Teachers, they were going to be forced to share a communal bathroom.
This resulted in a bitter dispute between the returnees and Zimbabwean authorities who later called police details to rein in the returnees after the later had vowed that they were not going to sleep at the teachers’ college.
City of Harare engineers were reportedly deployed to reconnect water at the Covid-19 quarantine facility.
Speaking through journalists, the returnees said they had been given an undertaking that they would be transferred to the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe, which is currently on a 35-day national lockdown, has closed the country’s borders except for cargo. On the other hand, Zimbabwean nationals returning home are allowed in on the sole condition that they are undergo a 21-day quarantine at a state-appointed facility.
The perrenially struggling southern African country has faced a plethora of problems which include recurrent power cuts and water shortages.