WHAT is the hullabaloo all about? Why has the instruction by police against politicians abrogating Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations by handing out face masks in congregated spaces such as markets, been so politicised.
Should authorities stand aside and ignore those failing to observe live saving guidelines that prevent the spread of the deadly virus?
Should citizens’ lives be put at risk simply because it is an election year and more specifically because it is a campaign period?
Should health authorities and law enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to wrongdoing simply to please especially the opposition, who seem more disturbed by this directive from Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to block them from endangering lives?
It should be noted that the distribution of masks by some politicians is not the problem, but the act of doing so in crowded places such as markets and combining this with campaigning, is what is of concern.
While the market places bring together multitudes from all walks of life, it is still not the only place that politicians can drive their campaign messages home.
Though convenient, the market is a place of trading and as such will always have huge numbers and campaign activities only serve to force more people to congregate for too long and subsequently the risk of spreading the virus.
Political parties are still free to spread their political messages, as well as drive the campaign against the spread of COVID-19 in more acceptable means.
The door-to-door campaign drive is still open to all political parties and what better method than this one-to-one interaction with voters can they hope for to canvas for votes?
Just as so many people frequent markets, there are so many others who do not, especially now when the threat of COVID-19 is so pronounced.
President Edgar Lungu himself has stated that though he remains a candidate in the August 12 election and is required to undertake campaigns, he still remains the Head of State.
This means he will look after the interests of the people and if those interests include distributing face masks to marketeers, he will discharge that duty even if the opposition sees it differently.
AS the president said, the campaign in markets he has been conducting is not for any candidate but it is a campaign against the Coronavirus.
Let us stay safe, COVID-19 is real.