Monday, 13 April 2020

LOCKDOWN EXTENSION FAKE NEWS : ED ORDERS PROBE

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said he has ordered an investigation into the originators of fake information purporting that the Government had extended the national lockdown.


Spreading fake news on social media and mainstream media about coronavirus (Covid-19) has been categorised as a Level 14 offence, the highest in the country and people found guilty of the offence can be jailed for up to 20 years.

The fake report comes as Cabinet is set to meet on Monday to review whether or not to extend the 21-day national lock down which expires this week.

The President described as nonsensical reports that were doing rounds on social media that he has extended the national lockdown saying he alone cannot extend it without first consulting with his two Vice Presidents and Cabinet.

“I am supposed to make an official statement if we are going to extend (the lock down). I have never made such a statement and that social media statement is absolute nonsense. We now have a law which punishes those who produce fake news and I have ordered an investigation into those behind the fake statement and if found, we want the person to be an exemple and get up to 20 years in prison. It’s bad to peddle falsehoods especially about a President,” he said.

The President said he and his two deputies will be touring provinces for them to have an appreciation of the situation on the ground and only then will they sit down and review the lockdown.

The President said he will tour at least five provinces himself to have firsthand information about the effects of the lockdown before the review meeting.

“We shall review the situation on the 20th of April on whether we adjust the lockdown conditions or we extend,” he said. 

“It’s a question of a collective discussion after we tour the provinces and have firsthand information on the obtaining situation. I will do to my level best to sample at least five provinces on my own but I have my two Vice Presidents. They will also tour some of the provinces so that we share views as we move forward.”

President Mnangagwa said it was however, better to sacrifice the economy in bid to save lives by avoiding the spread of Coronavirus as he reiterated the need to stay home.

He said the economy can be rebuilt but there were no means one can resuscitate life once one is lost.

“Due to Covid-19 pandemic we are suffering socially and economically and the effects are being felt worldwide. We however have to do our best to preserve life which is the most precious. If a life is lost that is the end of it but we can always reconstruct our economy,” he said. Chronicle

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