Government has issued a stern warning against spreading fake news and false information pertaining to the health condition of the country’s leaders, including their purported deaths by members of the public and the media.
Of late, social media has been awash with false information claiming that Vice-Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi were unwell.
This follows media reports in some sections of the local media claiming that VP Chiwenga had been airlifted to China for medical attention after he was diagnosed with Covid-19. The reports also claimed that VP Mohadi was in self isolation after contracting the virus.
In a statement yesterday, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mr Aaron Nhepera expressed concern over spreading falsehoods on how Covid-19 pandemic has affected the country’s leaders.
“Government has noted with deep concern, recent developments where mainstream media, social media and individuals are spreading falsehoods on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the nation’s leadership. Members of the public are urged to desist from such tendencies that infringe on other people’s rights and cause unnecessary distress and anguish among the people affected,” he said.
Mr Nhepera said the falsehoods have a destabilising effect at a time when the country is grappling with Covid-19.
“Let us be reminded that such acts have the effect of causing alarm and despondency, not only to the individuals affected and their families, but the nation as a whole,” he added.
Many other prominent personalities including Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Victor Matemadanda, the ruling party’s Secretary for Finance Cde Patrick Chinamasa and Senate deputy president and Zanu-PF Central Committee member Senator Mike Nyambuya, were also subjected to similar falsehoods.
“It is, however, a fact that Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to our social circles, affecting as it has done, close family members, acquaintances, colleagues and many other dear to us. This is indeed, a reality but which gives no justification for anyone to spread blatant falsehoods that have the effect of destabilising the nation,” said Mr Nhepera.
He said the focus should be on strict observance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations and health guidelines on Covid-19 and adherence to the national lockdown restrictions.
In his address to the nation on Saturday, President Mnangagwa it was time for Zimbabweans to strengthen unity, determination and a shared sense of purpose in the wake of the new kind of war, Covid-19.
He reassured Zimbabweans that the country will soon overcome the harsh phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, in a bold declaration of hope to a nation grappling with a deadly second wave of the contagion.
“We must practice maximum hygiene at all times, in all places. We must stop going to private parties and gatherings. We must report suspicious cases of returnees,” he said.