Lip service to Covid-19: Police, Army bars remain open


MASVINGO – Talk of some animals being more equal than others and paying lip service to the fight against Covid -19, all four Police bars in Masvingo remained open and fully operational throughout the duration of the lockdown, The Mirror can disclose.
Ironically ZRP members and the Army have been going round beating civilians who open their beer outlets during the lockdown.

The Police bars that have remained open are Room 7 at Central Police Station, Chikato in Mucheke, Zimuto at Zimuto Camp and Phoenix in Rhodhene.

Police only closed these bars yesterday after The Mirror sought comments.

Once again these Police facilities have become powder kegs for the spread of the deadly virus while citizens have unsuccessfully complained against Police officers handling letters at roadblocks and conducting business without masks.

National Police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi asked for questions but did not respond until the time of going to Press. Officer commanding Masvingo, Assistant Commissioner Taonei Nyazema refuted the allegations.

However, Mirror reporters visited the four bars over the last seven days and it was business as usual. The Mirror also established that Police bars have never been affected by the lockdown.

A senior Police officer whose name cannot be disclosed asked why the newspaper was targeting the Police.

“Who told you about this? Why target the Police? Why don’t you also report about the bars at 4 Brigade which are open?” he quizzed The Mirror reporter.

Zimbabwe National Army Spokesperson Lt Colonel Alphios Makotore referred questions back to Masvingo.

Efforts to get a comment from 4 Infantry Brigade Headquarters were futile.

The Mirror went to Room 7 which is at the Police Provincial Headquarters and realised that this has become the drinking place for most senior civil servants and businessmen.
Patrons played snooker and darts and smoked in the packed bars where no social distance was observed. The patrons also did not have masks and there are no sanitisers.
The Chikato Bar was filled with patrons from Mucheke High Density suburb while Phoenix is filled up with patrons from Rhodene. The Zimuto Bar is the new rendezvous point for all beer starved imbibers from Eastvale.

Sources also said that there are public bars in town which are opened for senior Police officers and their friends on Friday nights and one is Caravan Park.

Masvingo Provincial Covid-19 Taskforce spokesperson Rodgers Irimayi said no bars are allowed to be open.

Zimbabwe’s Covid cases have mushroomed in the last three weeks and there is fear for the worst. This saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa declaring a dusk to dawn curfew.

A Mucheke resident who spoke to The Mirror on condition of anonymity said beer is cheaper at Police clubs and is sold in ZWL $ unlike at shabeens where the prices are in USD$ and there is a risk of raids by the Police.

“I drink at Chikato Camp and the beer is cheap. The bar closes around 10pm,” said the source.

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