After a long speculated battle, Zimbabwe settled for the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. On 15
February 2021, a consignment of 200,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses was donated to Zimbabwe by
the People’s Republic of China. In a gesture to allay public fears, the Zimbabwe Vice President
Constantino Chiwenga took the first jab.
On March 16th 2021, the government issued conflicting official statements on a second
consignment of 200,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by China, leading to a public outcry on
lack of clarity and transparency on consignments coming in as donations and those bought using
public funds. The assertions suggest that the government is manipulating donated vaccines and
declaring some quantities as having been bought by the state. On February 26, 2021, the Local
Government, Urban and Rural Development Minister, July Moyo, published a legal notice ordering
more than twelve thousand villagers occupying approximately 12,940 hectares of Chilonga
communal land in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe, to leave immediately. The legal notice, Statutory
Instrument 50 of 2021, said the land was being set aside for lucerne grass production. The eviction
order and its effects comes hard at a time where citizens are bearing the brunt of a non performing
economy and further worsened by the pandemic. The forced, unplanned movement poses serious
risks given the nature of the pandemic that discourages movement of persons.
Informed by the reduction in new COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe, the government gazetted a
Statutory Instrument 110 of 2020. Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and
Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Amendment) Order, 2020 (No. 8), which entailed easing of some
lockdown measures and paving way for partial reopening of the industry and schools.
Given the high dependency on donations, Zimbabwe Government has officially ‘approved’
administration of four (4) vaccines, being, Sinopharm and Sinovac from China, Covaxin from India
and Russia’s Sputnik V. On March 29th 2021, President Emmerson Mnangagwa received a
donation of 35,000 doses of Covaxin. The consignment is part of the 75,000 doses donated by the
Indian Government. Zimbabwe became the first African nation to administer Covaxin.