Home Crime and Courts Citizens bemoan newly gazetted lock-down violation fines

Citizens bemoan newly gazetted lock-down violation fines

by Kudakwashe Vhenge

By Staff Reporter

There is a massive outcry from people of various social status ranging from lawyers to the general citizens over the newly hiked lock-down violation fines that were announced by the government this past week.

The rising of fines came as a way of deterring would be offenders from violating lock-down regulations that were put in place to limit the spread of the COVID-19.

Under the new stipulated fines,  those that are caught not wearing a mask or not properly masking-up will be liable to pay a fine of ZLW$5,000 up from the previous ZLW$500.

Government also revealed that the fines also differ with the offenses and the level of the lock down. Level one, two and three offenses now attract fines of $1,000, $2,000 and $5,000, whilst level 14 attracts a fine of $1 600 000.

Speaking during an interview, lawyer expert, Advocate Kudzai Kadzere said the fines are far-fetched from the present reality in this country.
He also described Zimbabwean prisons as ‘Super Spreads’ of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s obviously unacceptable that the poor will bear the brunt of this ridiculously high scale of fines and will have to serve the alternative which is imprisonment. 

“It is common cause that our prisons are death traps especially in this era of COVID-19 and some will unfortunately contract the virus there and succumb to this pandemic,” Kadzere said.

In addition, citizens also bemoaned the newly gazetted fines describing them as ‘Draconian’ to the people whom the government is aware that they live from informal sector.

“The government pretty much know that over 70% of its citizens survive on hand to mouth, particularly vending as our only source of living.

“Then they decide to gazette these new harsh and rigid fines. Where does the government think we will get all this money?” Said Jaison Munhuwakare a citizen from Harare.

Another citizen, Mrs Chiedza Mpala from Bulawayo said, the hiked fines were directly imposed to inflict more misery to the poor who cannot afford to pay such huge amounts of fines.

“You can tell that these fines were gazetted to inflict more distress to us the poor. We cannot afford these fines, only the elites will afford,” she said.

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