Nevison Bara Herald Correspondent
At a routine Cabinet meeting on 14 September 2019, it was resolved that all civil servants be vaccinated in line with the World Health Organisation Covid-19 protocols, leaving those who do not want to be vaccinated to choose not to report for duty instead.
This seems draconian in the eyes of the country’s detractors and “dark forces” condition of employment might seem to be infringing on the rights of the individuals that do not want to be vaccinated as it leaves them with no choice.
However, this move has to be looked at through the big picture eye. In any case, this is not a move peculiar to Zimbabwe only, as also last week, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring all United States federal employees to be vaccinated.
The executive order also specifies that companies with 100 000 employees and above should ensure that their workers are vaccinated or that they test them weekly, failure of which they are fined thousands of dollars per employee.
This American executive order came barely a few days after Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi set the tone for the Zimbabwe situation at a meeting in Chinhoyi where he explained that whilst the Government respects the provisions of individual rights as provided for in the constitution, individual rights should not infringe on the rights of the majority and what is a public good.
Therefore, Tuesday’s Cabinet order is not at all derived from the American stance, but is the new normal happening everywhere and this vindicates the government’s action.
This should be put in dark ink because some oppositional characters to Government stance on vaccination appear to posit that the authorities are just following what others are doing without serious thought to it.
Let it be reiterated that authorities are acting in the interest of public good; the health of citizens takes precedence over other rights. Simple.
It is a fact that Zimbabwe has shown the way in dealing with Covid-19 administration to the rest of the continent and the world at large. The Government deserves commendation on this. Anything to the contrary is driven by hatred and malice.
A professor at some university in a far afield land, on being asked by a student what he had to say on their university requirements on vaccination as “an infringement on their rights of free movement” had this to say and will quote in verbatim:
“We already infringe on your movements. You can’t cross the border without a passport. You can’t drive a car without a licence. You can’t ride the bus without a pass. You can’t cross the street unless the light is green. You can’t enter a nightclub unless your ID card says you are over 18. You can’t enter private property … and the university is private property … unless the owners give you permission.
“Moreover, you can’t inject heroin into your veins because that is against the public good. You can’t drive your car as fast as you want because that is against the public good. You can’t defecate on the sidewalk because that is against the public good. And you can’t come to campus without being vaccinated because that is against the public good.
“A free society is not anarchic society. If you do not want to be vaccinated, you have the freedom not to come to campus.”
It is an accepted reality that Covid-19 is a global pandemic and government swiftly declared it a national disaster in March 2020.
In such a scenario, only unbalanced individuals, which some other professor would call retrogressive forces, would expect a responsible government to sit on its laurels whilst humanity is under threat, that threat compounded by the noise of attention seeking conspiracy theorists.
It is reported elsewhere that Cuba is vaccinating s two-year olds whilst Australia is vaccinating 12-yearolds.
Let it be known that if Government missteps in its response to this pandemic the same individuals or groups will still lash out at Government. With this background, Government must continue doing its best to protect citizens.
So, yes there will be grumblings around and among civil servants but it is for the good of the public that Government has been forced to take the seemingly infamous position.
It is a move showing a Government so sure footed in decision making and on this one, the whole nation must stand behind it.
Covid-19 is not for politicking but decisive action. Government employees are, thus implored to stand behind their employer and support it too if they believe in the basic tenets of employer-employee relations. And on this one the employer is right. Get vaccinated.
It is either the homeland or not!