The government has announced that travel between Harare and Chitungwiza and Harare and Norton is now prohibited. Movement between the two dormitory towns and the capital is banned because it is considered intercity travel.
Intercity travel was banned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he imposed a level 4 lockdown in the country due to a surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths.
Below is the statement from Nick Mangwana, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, announcing the ban on intercity travel between Harare-Chitungwiza and Harare-Norton. Zimbabwe Observer is publishing the statement in full below,
BAN ON INTERCITY TRAVEL UNDER EXTENDED LEVEL 4 LOCKDOWN
Government has noted with concern that in spite of the ban on intercity travel some People are still travelling between cities for various non-essential reasons This has resulted in a worrying surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. The public is reminded that under the extended Level 4 Lockdown announced by His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 13 July 2021, intercity travel is prohibited.
Statutory Instrument 198 of 2021 defines intercity travel as travel ‘between any cities or between municipalities or towns established or deemed to have been established in terms of the Urban Councils Act.” It does not include travel ‘between an area under the jurisdiction of a local board and a city, municipality or town that is within the same council area as the local board.’
As an example. movement between Chitungwiza and Harare or Norton and Harare is considered intercity travel and therefore prohibited.
Accordingly, law enforcement agents will be ensuring that intercity travel will only be permitted for those providing an essential service or travelling for a humanitarian reason such as seeking medical treatment Proof of provision of essential service may be requested at Police checkpoints.
Regarding intra-city travel (movement within a city), members of the public are urged to only leave their homes if they are gang to provide an essential service going to businesses permitted to operate under Level 4 or seeking food or medication within a 5km radius.
Measures including but not limited to Police checkpoints will be intensified to ensure that members of the public comply with the measures.
The permanent secretary took to social media where he said that residents from Ruwa and Epworth are free to continue coming to Harare. Mangwana clarified that this is because Ruwa and Epworth are not municipalities or towns.
Traveling between Harare and Chitungwiza is “intercity travel” therefore prohibited except for essential service providers only. Same applies to Norton. Ruwa and Epworth are not municipalities or towns therefore travel between them and Harare City Centre is not banned.
The announcement of the ban on travel between Harare and Chitungwiza, and Harare and Norton follows numerous complaints on social media. Residents of Chitungwiza have been complaining about unbearably long delays at a police checkpoint along Seke Road.
Zengeza West MP, Job Sikhala who lives in Chitungwiza is disturbed by the ban. Writing on his twit account, Sikhala accused the government of being scared of people from Chitungwiza.
“In Chitungwiza we are not a city. We don’t have even a city Centre. We have got townships dotted around from Chigovanyika to Makoni. Trying to classify us as a city today and ban 90% of people who work in Harare to travel is stupidity,” said Sikhala.