Parliament of Zimbabwe
Twenty-five MPs tested positive for Covid-19 in tests done last week, but nine had already tested positive four weeks ago and have been counted as recovered, leading MPs to worry that anti-body presence is leading to false positives.
Matabeleland North MP Dr Ruth Labode yesterday raised a point of privilege on Parliament’s testing and isolation policies.
“My concern is that 25 MPs tested positive and among those, there were about nine or so who had already tested positive four weeks ago and isolated,” she said.
Parliament guidelines require that MPs be tested after every two weeks and those who test positive, will immediately go into isolation for 14 days.
Dr Labode argued that some people who would have earlier tested positive will likely retain a positive result because of the presence of anti-bodies in their systems even though they were no longer infected or infectious and she argued that there was no need to continue isolating such people .
Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda confirmed that 25 MPs had tested positive during last week’s round of testing including those who had tested positive before.
A statement issued by the Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda noted that the suspension of Parliament business will give way for the disinfection process and contact tracing of all those who were in contact with the infected people.
Chokuda said everyone who was part of that team is now in self quarantine in line with the Ministry of Health and child welfare guidelines.
“It is with heavy heart that the Parliament announced its suspension of most of its business due to the exposure of two of members of Parliament to Covid-19. As at this morning only two members of parliament had been confirmed positive. A driver from one of our service providers and a journalist who were part of the team also tested positive,” Chokuda said.
“Our thoughts prayers are with the affected and their families. The members were part of a team that had been on field visits around the country.”
Chokuda stated that the measure to suspend Parliament has been taken to safeguard the health of members of parliament, staff and the public who interact with the institution.
“Consequently, tomorrow sitting for the National Assembly will be done with very limited members for the sole purpose of a adjourning to a future date, he said.
“This will allow for the deep cleaning and disinfection of the Parliament building and contact tracing and testing of those who came into contact with the affected members of parliament. Parliament of Zimbabwe will continue to monitor the situation and members of the public will be duly advised of the date of resumption of the business of Parliament.”
The National Assembly yesterday passed the Attorney-General’s Office Amendment Bill now awaiting debate in Senate.
The Bill seeks to provide for the appointment of deputy Attorneys-General in line with the Constitution to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Attorney-General’s office.
The Bill also sets out the composition of the AG’s Office Board, which shall be chaired by the AG and bars Government departments from seeking legal advice from private practice without approval from the AG since the AG is the Government’s principal legal adviser in terms of the Constitution.
All legal advisers working for different ministries and departments will fall under the supervision of the AG’s Office in line with his constitutional mandate as the principal Government legal adviser.
To date, Zimbabwe has recorded 2512 cases 518 recoveries 34 deaths.