Sup Gastone Boyce.Mirror ReporterMasvingo – A district taskforce on Covid – 19 has shut down Chitima, the biggest vendors’ market in Masvingo after a visit at 5 this morning showed that the required social distancing is impossible as hundreds of residents turn out to buy vegetables every morning.This is the second time that the market is being closed after a decision was made to reopen it a week ago.
Members of the task force who were at the market by 5am expressed shock at what they saw. They then made an impromptu decision to shut down the place.Members of the committee also immediately agreed that the market will be decentralised and farmers will now be required to deliver produce to all suburbs of Masvingo at designated places ie in Rujeko, Mucheke, Majange, Rhodhene, West and Victoria Ranch.
A dejected Dr Tinashe Muswe, the District Medical Officer for Masvingo told members of the task force at the impromptu meeting that continued activities at the market were defeating every other gain made in the fight against the pandemic. “This is shocking and unbelievable. Hygiene here is far below standards, social distancing is not there at all and there is too much crowding. Initially we said not more than 50 people at any gathering but we have hundreds here if not thousands,” said Muswe during the discussions.Superintendent Gastone Boyce, the Officer Commanding Masvingo District described the situation at Chitima as a time bomb.“We cannot delay this, we need to act and save the situation now. This is a time bomb,” said Chief Sup Boyce.The Acting Town Clerk, Edward Mukaratirwa said that the market was reopened after an appeal because residents were running out of vegetables and food. He also called for the immediate closure of Chitima describing it as a potential disaster.Businessman Stern Kondongwe who is one of the members of the committee called on the taskforce to ensure that the stringent measures put in place by Government on the lockdown are adhered to. He expressed shock at the situation at Chitima and said if people have to eat sadza without vegetables and tomatoes to avoid the crowding then let that be.“If this is the extent to which we are going to in order to get tomatoes and vegetables then it’s better to have sadza without relish and close this market. What is a tasty meal compared to the pandemic we are staring in the face. Let’s just bear the pain for 21 days and serve the nation,” said Kondongwe.The chairman of the taskforce, Masvingo District Co-ordinator then declared that the market was closed with immediate effect. There was an agreement that residents would be informed through loud speakers on moving vehicles.#MasvingoMirror#