Cholera paralyses showbiz

HARARE - A number of high-profile gigs that were scheduled for this and next weekend hang in balance following the government’s ban on public gatherings, as the cholera epidemic continues to spread across the country.

Last week, the government was accused of playing double standards after it failed to universally ban public gatherings, resulting in a number of shows and soccer matches going ahead despite the ban.

Some observers believe the ban was only targeted at Nelson Chamisa’s MDC which was scheduled to hold its 19th anniversary at the Zimbabwe Grounds, an event which would have seen Chamisa taking a mock presidential oath, three weeks after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was inaugurated following a Constitutional Court decision upholding the Zanu PF frontman’s disputed election victory.

However, the government seems to have upped its efforts in implementing the ban with a number of high-profile gigs that were lined up for this weekend being postponed.

Health minister Obadiah Moyo said government’s consideration to ban some of the activities was to avoid the situation from getting out of hand.

“The issue of social gatherings is obviously a cause for concern because we feel that the food that is sold at such gatherings could be contaminated so we are looking at ways of regulating that as well.

“We would not want to ban conferences for example but we need to establish and satisfy ourselves that the food that is eaten there is safe from contamination so such gatherings remain subject to approval by the ministry so we will come back to you with a proper position once we are done with coming up with the framework to regulate such events,” Moyo said.

The Cassper Nyovest and Prince Kaybee-headlined RSVP gig that was scheduled for this Saturday at Glamis Arena has been postponed to November 10.

The cholera epidemic has also left the Ammara Brown, Mr Eazi gig scheduled for September 28 at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) hanging in the balance with close sources telling the Daily News that it has been moved.

Sources privy to developments also revealed that the Chibuku Road To Fame that was set for September 29 at Glamis Arena could also be postponed until the cholera situation has subsided.

Events Evolution, which is behind the Cassper Nyovest gig announced on Tuesday that they have heeded to calls by the Health ministry to avoid risking public health resulting in the postponement of the gig.

Kush Zvirahwa, on behalf of Events Evolution, said the South African artistes were behind the nation in the fight against the disease.

The South African artistes, Cassper Nyovest and Prince Kaybee were expected to share the stage with a number of local artistes among them ExQ, Takura Freeman, Sylent Nqo and a number of DJs.

“This decision was reached after extensive consultations with the ministry of Health, Harare City Council health department, ZTA and National Arts Council and our partners.

“In the interest of public health and safety, Events Evolution believes that this resolution is for the greater good and wellbeing of our communities,” Kush said.

The government has also declared a state of emergency following the outbreak.

The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) had to suspend the graduation ceremony, up until the situation has subsided.

In a statement, UZ acting vice chancellor Paul Mapfumo said the postponement was purely on health grounds.

However, despite this ban, last week, it was business as usual over the weekend in most parts of the capital, where different activities were conducted.

Popular musician Alick Macheso had a full house at Zebra Village in Mbare, one of the country’s oldest high-density suburbs, while Peter Moyo also drew crowds in Dzivaresekwa.

Several popular entertainment places were also operating at full throttle, while some churches also continued with their usual weekend business.

Popular football teams also continued with their fixtures that took place on Saturday and Sunday.

Government has also moved in to drive out vendors from the city centre, citing health issues following the spread of the epidemic which has resulted in running battles.

Meanwhile, while other big events are being moved, organisers of the
annual Shoko Festival insist their event is still on and have taken the necessary precautions.

Media liaison Pascal Kunyeda said; “So far nothing has changed, we have secured the necessary clearance and we are putting in place hygiene and safety measures given the huge number of people we expect to turn out. I can assure you we are going ahead,” he said.

The biggest casualties of cholera were recorded in 2008, when 4 000 people died and more than 40 000 were treated for this disease.

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