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Zimbabwe Minister Says Civil Servants Should Get COVID-19 Jab or Quit

file: Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, addresses journalists in Harare, Aug. 19, 2020. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)
file: Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, addresses journalists in Harare, Aug. 19, 2020. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

VOA Correspondent

A top government official says all Zimbabwean civil servants should get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to curb the spread of coronavirus, which has killed almost 2,000 people in the southern African nation.

Speaking during a COVID-19 assessment meeting with heads of various government departments in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West province, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said civil servants have no choice after signing state contracts compelling them to work for the public.

Ziyambi stunned those at the meeting when he said civil servants who do not want to follow Public Service Commission rules on COVID-19 vaccinations won’t get any form of insurance and as a result are free to resign.

“When you get employed you cede some of the rights to say if you want to be employed here get vaccinated so the Public Service Commission has regulations which we must comply with if you are a civil servant. If you don’t want to comply with that you have a right to quit,” said Ziyambi.

But Peter Mutasa, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, said Ziyambi’s remarks are unlawful, adding that refusing someone insurance cover on the basis that the person was not vaccinated is discrimination that is not supported by law.

“It’s unlawful because there is no law that supports that discrimination for someone to discriminate an employee that has not been vaccinated … There is no scientific support that someone who has been vaccinated will not be infected,” said Mutasa.

At the same time, he told the gathering that Zanu PF members should not hold illegal meetings that may lead to the spread of the disease.

“No one directed that Zanu PF must do what the president has said we must not do so we have regulations that were put in place by the president under the Public Health Act and we cannot go against them. That is very clear,” said Ziyambi.

He was responding to Norton Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa’s question on why Zanu PF was holding public meetings when other parties have been blocked by health officials due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance deputy spokesperson, Clifford Hlatswayo, said Minister Ziyambi is parroting what Zanu PF cannot do as they have been

violating health regulations at will.

“Zanu PF has been violating COVID-19 regulations since day one and they will not stop as they are taking advantage of the situation to hold political activities. What they are forgetting is that COVID-19 knows no colour, creed or political affiliation. We must all observe these regulations,”

said Hlatshwayo.

According to the Ministry of Health, as at July 2, 202, Zimbabwe had 52,663 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 39,568 recoveries and 1,841 deaths. To date, a total of 788,004 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.