HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsComment: Can we count on city fathers to deliver?

Comment: Can we count on city fathers to deliver?


Harare City Council appears to be clueless and overwhelmed by the large numbers of residents visiting its clinics amid fears of typhoid outbreak which continues to spread in the capital city.

Since late October this year, 211 cases of typhoid have been reported in Harare. Reported cases of typhoid within Harare have opened a Pandora’s Box.

Although no deaths have been recorded so far, questions have been asked as to how a primitive disease such as typhoid can wreak havoc in a country that has proper infrastructure in place for the supply of clean water.

Questions centred on how a country that has attained so much progress in the health sector continues to experience typhoid cases are being asked, but without answers. Residents are now living in fear of the month-long outbreak which has seen hundreds admitted at Beatrice Infectious Hospital in Harare.

Last year, Mabvuku high-density suburb in Harare was hit by a typhoid outbreak and hundreds of residents feared for their lives as the disease spread like veld fire across the suburbs.

City authorities claimed they had contained the outbreak. But, a year later, the disease has resurfaced in Dzivarasekwa and other high-density suburbs, making it clear only a temporary solution had been found.

The underlying factor behind the outbreak of typhoid in Harare is shortage of water. Residents across high-density suburbs spend more time searching for water from unprotected wells, weirs and other sources to the detriment of their health.

Residents have no access to clean water in Harare and other urban centres. Some residents have dug wells while boreholes have been sunk as alternative sources of clean water.

Dzivarasekwa, Budiriro, Highfield, Glen Norah and Glen View and satellite towns such as Norton, Ruwa and Chitungwiza have serious water problems because they all get potable water supplies from Harare City Council.

With the way things are going, one could only suspect the situation may become even worse — what with bureaucratic bungling in both Harare and government over the construction of major dams such as Kunzvi among others.

Surprisingly, Harare council has not come out in the open outlining measures it is taking to alleviate the water shortage threatening the capital city with collapse.

It is unfortunate residents have to face the sad reality that the city fathers have dismally failed to provide potable water?

There is no doubt that this sort of behaviour by council spells a gloomy future unless drastic measures are urgently taken.

One could be forgiven for concluding that systems in Harare City Council have failed.

The only way to progress is to go back to the drawing board. The painful reality about Harare is that council has simply failed to harness water from dams, purify it and supply residents, who pay exorbitant charges every month.

In this veil of confusion, what is disturbing is that the authorities appear clueless. The authorities have no solution to the capital’s water woes and are not even treating the matter with the urgency it deserves.

For the ordinary residents, who have no access to potable water: Can Harare city fathers continue to be trusted with such a vital service delivery?

Does council still have a right to collect water rates? Or is it a matter of wrong people being given such an important mandate?

Pushing residents to the limit will certainly backfire, and once that happens the MDC-T dominated council should not cry foul over spilt milk for residents will eventually use their veto power come elections.

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