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Punish those defying Covid-19 rules

IN A time like this when our country as well as the entire world is facing an existential threat in the form of the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 it is unacceptable that some reckless citizens can continue frustrating Government’s efforts to bring the disease under control and reverse its spread.

We are disappointed that reports have continued in the media that some owners of bars, bottle stores and other drinking places are still allowing people to congregate to imbibe alcohol.

Also, we are worried that some sections of the Zambian society in the capital city, Lusaka, have continued to hold social functions such as weddings and kitchen parties which attract large numbers of people in one place at a particular time.

As if that were not enough some clergymen are misleading their followers into joining them in defying the measures Government has put in place to curb the spread of the disease.

One case in point is the unholy convocation in Ndola organized by one false prophet who was leading a bizarre service with his gullible youthful congregants at a mountain.

The 49-year-old ‘prophet’ identified as Francis Bwalya was apprehended and detained by police for conducting unconventional worship with a horde of his church members at the foot of a hill.

Bwalya was found with other church members, mostly young girls and women bowing down and facing each other at very close range at Dola Hill.

Such defiance should not be tolerated and the fake pastor must be charged with appropriate offences and caged so that he stops endangering the lives of others.

Most of these liberal preachers do not even follow the Bible but use all kinds of tricks to deceive their followers into submission.

But Covid-19 is real. It is decimating families and communities in Asia, Europe and the United States. Back home, we have already lost two lives to the virus and it is foolish for any person to underplay the danger.

According to Ndola City Council (NCC) public relations manager Tilyenji Mwanza after noticing police presence many of the youngsters scampered into the tall grass but police managed to apprehend Bwalya and 16 girls and women who she said would be charged with appropriate offences.

Ms Mwanza told the Sun yesterday that NCC health inspectors and State police disrupted the gathering.

They were shocked to find dozens of the girls and women deep in ‘odd worship’.

This is sad and we urge the council and the police to ensure the reckless and false prophet faces the law. We are afraid that Bwalya may have been molesting the unsuspecting girls and women.

And who told those girls and women that God will only hear their prayers if they pray on a mountain? Which Bible teaches such weird doctrines? One can pray in the comforts of the house and God will hear their prayer.

The council and the police did well to disrupt the worship because those people were flouting statutory instruments 21 and 22 which proscribe the holding of a huge gathering without permission.

They rebels’ were actually risking their lives by not obeying social distancing as they bowed down in their odd mountainous prayers with their heads almost touching.

Let us take the fight against Covid-19 serious and ensure that we each play our part in preventing its spread.

We are disappointed that while police and the Ndola City Council were rounding up the ‘rebels’ in Ndola in Lusaka’s Chakunkula Ward 32 residents were also found ignoring the health guidelines against Covid-19.

This has angered ward councillor Smart Mwitwa. Mr Mwitwa is a frustrated person. He says it is unfortunate that some residents are not following Government’s directive and that the guidelines are very clear in terms of the statutory instruments 21 and 22.

Dr Mwitwa says it is important that every law-abiding citizen follow the SIs to avoid the spread of COVID 19. We agree with him entirely. People should stop trivialising the fight against Covid-19 because the disease is a threat to human life and the country’s economy.

We commend Government for closing bars that operated illegally like the one at a place called Chris Mall in Chamba Valley. A team of health inspectors and police found the place teeming with patrons.

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