THE government has warned the media and social media users to stop spreading falsehoods on Covid-19 deaths following several fake reports that some senior government and Zanu PF officials had succumbed to the deadly pandemic.
Addressing the media Monday, Home Affairs secretary Aaron Nhepera said the false statements were causing alarm and despondency to the affected individuals and their families, and had the effect of destabilising the country.
“Government has noted with deep concern, recent developments where mainstream media, social media and individuals are spreading falsehoods on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the nation’s leadership,” he said.
Last week, several false death reports of ministers and senior Zanu PF officials circulated claiming the ruling party’s national commissar and Deputy Defence Minister Victor Matemadanda, Zanu PF finance secretary Patrick Chinamasa and Deputy President of Senate and former Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya had succumbed to Covid-19.
“Some falsehoods that have been peddled include suggestions that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga was unwell and had been airlifted to China for treatment. Vice President Kembo Mohadi was equally said to have been indisposed and recuperating at home.
“Members of the public are urged to desist from such tendencies that infringe on other people’s rights and cause unnecessary distress and anguish among the people affected.
“Let us be reminded that such acts, have the effect of causing alarm and despondency, not only to the individuals affected and their families, but to the nation as a whole. This has a destabilising effect at a time the nation is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Nhepera.
Flanked at the press conference by Deputy Police Commissioner General Elliot Ngirandi, the Home Affairs secretary added: “It is however a fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to our social circles, affecting as it has done, close family members, acquaintances, colleagues and many others dear to us.
“This is indeed a reality but which gives no justification for anyone to spread blatant falsehoods that have the effect of destabilising the nation.”