Coronavirus: Zimbabwe's rural people in the dark or in denial

29 March 2020 - 00:00 By NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
File photo of subsistence farming in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's rural population is in the dark about the Covid-19 pandemic.
File photo of subsistence farming in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's rural population is in the dark about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Image: 123rf/ Richard Van Der Spuy

Zimbabwe's rural population is in the dark about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Herbert Sinampande, who is Chief Sainsali in Binga, the country's poorest district, told the Sunday Times that he has tried in vain to educate his subjects about the virus, but self-quarantine is impossible.

"Staying at home means not using public facilities, yet everything is communal here."

He called on the government to send health workers to rural areas. "At least if they see nurses in uniform and not me, they will accept [what is happening]."

Chief Mtshane Khumalo of Bubi said: "We are struggling to understand everything about [the virus] except that it kills."

Sinakoma village head Levi Mumpande in Binga North said his subjects are still trying to recover from flooding in February.

"There is no mobile network and there are no radio or television stations, so they will only learn about [Covid-19] when I arrive in the village on Tuesday," he said.

Farai Munemo, a teacher in Vungu, in the Midlands, said politicians are not helping.

"When the virus spread to Africa, Zanu-PF's chairperson [minister of defence & war veterans] Oppah Muchinguri said the disease was for the West," he said.

"There are some people who took her word for it. No matter how one tries to educate them, they tell you about what the minister said."

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