Harare Police officer with no face mask _

Harare _2020

On a biting cold july wednesday morning i made my way to Samora Machel high way to commute to my workstation along the same high way . This daily routine has enabled me to meet various faces and learn a thing or two about how Zimbabweans are responding to the Covid 19 pandemic .After hours of waiting for transport to no avail ,one navy blue Honda fit finally stopped .two ladies who were waiting a meter away and i walked to the vehicle . Behing the wheel was a uniformed ZRP officer .

In these prevailing covid 19 times one would expect officers of the law to atleast uphold the law before enforcing it .To my dismay and shock ,the officer had no mask on .I looked around and realised i was the only one surprised by this .I thought of not entering into the vehicle ,then the thought of waiting another hour and being late for work hit home. The two passengers that sat at the back with me had Health worker tags dangling round their necks .I immediately identified one lady as a general worker at a clinic close to mbare and the other a nurse at the same clinic .

The two were in a rush to commute to work where they said they were “sceptical”about going when the officer greeted them and asked how their morning was .After the car got back on the main road , I gathered the courage to suggest that the police officer wears his protective mask to which he laughed and said in a sarcastic voice ” the health workers im carrying better not arrest me because im their letter to pass the road block along Samora Machel to town”. While he threw the humour card on an issue that demands the utmost seriousness, the officer was not at all concerned by the implications of his wreckless behaviour .

As conversation unfolded to eliminate awkwardness i also asked the nurse if her work place was safe in terms of Protective clothing and precations to protect her and her family after she has handled covid 19 suspected cases ,her response was heart wrecking as she clothed her fear with a soft laugh and a film of tears filled her laughing eyes instantly ,”what is safety really?”.Her rhetoric question was suggestive of the lack of safety in her work area and her jittery body language also depicted discomfort in disclosing the real fears and horrors that waited for her at work .

Corona virus cases continue to accelerate and my morning experience was one nerve wrecking moment .It is very unfortunate to note that the vast majority of people are wearing masks in order to evade the police more than to eradicate the rapid spread of the virus .One can only hope that the same traffic police officers sanitise after holding many letters and licences at road block checks.To cream the cake off, an officer of the law moving around without a mask is also disheartening and unfair !

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