Outspoken parliamentarian Temba Mliswa (Independent) says the decision by Cabinet to allow only people who have been fully vaccinated to attend in-person church services will open the floodgates of corruption.
On Wednesday Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said churches can now allow sit-in congregants who have been fully vaccinated and those who violate the protocol will be arrested.
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Mliswa, who represents Norton Constituency in the National Assembly, said the latest move by the government will promote corruption and the proliferation of fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates. Said Mliswa:
The challenge with this approach is it opens the opportunity for discrimination. We have a situation we need to address where people are receiving the first COVID-19 vaccination, but due to unavailability, can’t access the second.
Blame here can’t be put on the people as many are willing to receive vaccinations but can’t. Once there’s a shortage of vaccinations like this and people are segregated along such lines, it has the propensity to foster corruption and the emergence of fake certificates.
Mliswa urged the government to be consistent and make extensive consultations to avoid making “rushed” decisions that are “reactionary”. He said:
Some of the decisions made appear rather rushed, reactionary and lack consistency. Let’s have a clear position on this.
If it’s a lockdown, then let it be a proper lockdown. If you decide to open up, then open up.
I urge the government to invest in COVID-19 test kits and to allow pharmacies to sell WHO and government-approved test kits in the same way HIV was mitigated by the easy availability of HIV test kits.
Early detection of the COVID-19 virus can make the difference between recovery and death.
Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said congregants are expected to adhere to all Ministry of Health and Child Care and WHO protocols and all those found in breach will be arrested, including the leaders of the churches.