Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Health time bomb looms in Harare

13 Feb 2021 at 09:14hrs | Views
The world is at loggerheads trying to deal with the covid-19 pandemic that is threatening to wipe out humanity.

The Pandemic has affected millions of people around the world and millions have also succumbed to this deadly virus.

Zimbabwe has not been spared from this pandemic and health authorities are having sleepless nights trying to find a lasting solution that would alleviate the suffering, pain and effects of this strange virus.

Harare the "Sunshine City" seems to be fast losing its "Shiny"- what with allegations of corruption against it's Councillors. These allegations have claimed the scalp of Mayors, Herbert Gomba, Jacob Mafume the subsequent successor and deputy mayor Mukunguma. Town Clerks have not been spared in this blitz. With some opposition political parties figures claiming government is clamping down on its perceived enemies to score political points. Some quarters of society attribute the state of affairs in the city of Harare to interference by central government with the ministry of Local Government and Urban planning featuring prominently in the criticism, because it allegedly runs the budget of the city.

The tussling and hustling within the opposition for control has also affected the business of the city of Harare, many elected MDC-Alliance councilors were recalled from council by MDC-Tsvangirai and the situation has not helped the city as those recalled were never replaced and the City Council is said to be running without a quorum thereby impairing the city council business.

Covid-19 Covid-19!!! Yes.

It is such a topical issue this covid-19 but another enemy is lurking in wait especially for the residents of the Oldest High Density suburb in the country-Mbare.

This citadel of commerce, where people from all walks of life converge for their day today businesses is fast becoming a danger. The suburb is in a deplorable state as majority of it's streets are filled with flowing human waste. Refuse continues to be a permanent feature on most corners of the suburb and it's continually piling up and is becoming part of the landscape.

Sewage seems to be part of the everyday life in this town bursting sewer pipes, a heavy stench of sewage is now a signature of most parts of the suburb.

This sprawling suburb resident to hundreds of thousands of people will pose a Major challenge to authorities if the situation is not attended to.

According to the World Health Organization Key risk factors for cholera in Zimbabwe include "the deterioration of sanitary and health infrastructure and increasing rural-urban migration which further strains the water and sanitation infrastructure", which conditions are now prevalent in Mbare.

The water supply situation in Harare remains erratic and the way the health response capacities are overstretched  by the covid-19, a new problem in the form of Cholera would be playing in dangerous and murky waters for the city.

Some residents approached by this jounalist opened their homes to show the extent of the rot in Mbare where communal toilets in Matapi, Nenyere, Matererini and Matagarika have a common factor- they are all  teeming with human excritment and the healthy of the residents especially children and the elderly is at risk.

In most cases toilet bowls are filled up and the sewer pipes blocked as well. The situation is dire.

In an interview a resident who only identified herself as Mbuya Ellen from Matapi expressed  her dismay and disgust at the Harare City Council whom she accused of not taking responsibility and only paying a lip service to their plight.

Mbuya Ellen said it's more than a month now but the city authorities are doing nothing to redeem the situation. "Children are playing games in sewage and as adults there is very little we can do to stop them as the sewage is everywhere including in the homes".

One of the youths interviewed by this journalist decried the issue of failure by council workers to collect refuse. He stated that the council employees are saying they are incapacitated as they do not have protective clothing or requisite instruments to safely engage in their work.

Mai Nicole from Matererini Flats said council workers actually want to be bribed to do their work as they are citing that they are underpaid.

One church pastor who spoke on condition of anonymity stated that the situation in Mbare is a result of bad politics. He said that Mbare is  such a political hotbed that mainly features prominently in the agenda of politicians during election campaigns but as far as development is concerned the place faces neglect.

"Roads and general infrastructure is at it's worst yet Mbare is such a potential revenue earner for the city of Harare and is a domestic tourism hub considering it's historical background.

The situation in Mbare needs urgent Iattention otherwise more lives will be lost from an imminent Cholera outbreak.

Commenting on the situation in Mbare the local Member of Parliament Honourable Starmen Chamisa said he is making Efforts for the situation to be resolved before lives are lost from something that is preventable.

"I will engage with the ministry of Local Government to ensure a quick solution is found and I am urging residents to work glove in hand with their local councillors and report all problems for timeous resolutions", he proffered.

Asked for a comment the city of Harare  corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said currently the city of Harare is facing challenges with it's waste water department workers who are currently on industrial action over unpaid salaries and lack of protective clothing. " We are attending to the problem of waste water bursts in all suburbs including Mbare. Council is doing everything it can to ensure that the workers are paid their salaries and are provided with protective clothing to progressively attend to the problems". He said.

Source - George Swarei
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.