Zimbabwe Faces More Cholera As Water Supply System Collapses

Residents in the Harare high-density suburb of Glen View fetch water from a borehole sunk in the area by UNICEF. The boreholes routinely fail to cope when there is widespread failure of the water delivery system for days on end as is happening now. This means residents resort to unsafe water sources, some even getting their water from open sewage systems that have not been repaired by the City Council despite claims by the Unity Government in Harare of "improvements and progress"

Harare, Zimbabwe, 11 April 2010

Vast sections of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital have been without water for more than a week now as the City Fathers in the MDC-T controlled Council adopt the ZANU PF way of not bothering to inform ratepayers of what the problem is or even if it will be solved.

With taps in areas as diverse as Kuwadzana, Highfields, Glen Norah and even Chitungwiza completely dry, residents have once again started getting their water from unprotected sources, including the chemically-polluted Mukuvisi River in Harare.

Children and women can be seen crossing fields towards the dirty river while others are getting water from canals and open drainage pipes.

It has been raining heavily in Harare over the last week or so and some residents are also collecting this water from their roofs and gutters but it is obviously not enough to meet their needs. One only has to walk the streets of these townships and suburbs to be hit by the stench of sewage (the City Councils are still to rehabilitate large sections of the sewage systems in the capital).

This is where the danger of cholera comes in.

Twice before, I have been the first to alert you all about an impending cholera recurrence and was roundly booed for my efforts. On both occasions, I was proved right and this time I dare say it will be no different. We are faced with the return of this ancient disease, which should not even be present in any modern nation, let alone one that claims to be rich and in a city led by people who claim to have the interests of the people at heart.

The idiotic thing about all this is that, with or without water delivered to their taps, residents are still expected to not only "fixed charges"but also "metered charges"that the council claims is based on readings "taken from meters" of people who have had no water for the entire month.

The truth of the matter, of course, is that the City Councils, which the MDC-Tsvangirai and the Prime Minister himself have now publicly admitted are corrupt to the core, simply milk ratepayers in order to fund lavish lifestyles for themselves. Cars and the raiding of residential stands seem to be bigger priorities for these people than serving the people who put them into office.

Meantime, despite what some of you out of the country keep telling those of us who live here, the improvements in life are non-existent. Power cuts are still the order of the day (so much so that I laughed last week to hear someone say they were grateful that they got electricity at their house for three whole days in a week!)

Hospitals are still struggling with medication. Just yesterday, a colleague was in a panic because his new-born baby was sick and had been admitted to Chitungwiza hospital for two days without any medication, just for "observation". The hospital told him what drugs were needed in order to treat his baby but that he had to go and buy them himself at a pharmacy in Harare for US$50 because they had none.

I had to lend him the money otherwise things would have turned out very badly for him and his daughter.

Mugabe and ZANU PF say this is because of continued sanctions against Zimbabwe and that the MDC-T is to blame.

But, as Dr Simba Makoni of Mavambo party pointed out two weeks ago at a public meeting of the Mass Opinion Public Institute in Harare, it is the Inclusive Government (including the MDC element of it) that is imposing sanctions on Zimbabweans. With hospitals so short of staff and medication, the Inclusive Government still finds millions of dollars to send ministers and henchmen on junkets outside the country, where they get lavish allowances and stay in plush hotels.

If they must travel, why not put them up in B&Bs in the First World capitals that they visit? Despite the Prime Minister saying he will now make sure that the travel budget is cut, already this year, we have passed the US$28 million mark in travel expenditure for this government.

Just half of that would supply medication to hospitals and clinics in Zimbabwe.

Right now, as Zimbabwe approaches its much-anticipated 30 year Independence Anniversary, it is still not yet Uhuru (Independence) for the millions who are dying from preventable causes.

And yet, some would rather we keep quiet or join their cheer-leading simply because their leaders are now part of the very same government that is abusing the people who voted them into power!!

Dr Makoni says he was surprised last week to hear the Prime Minister go on and on about how "we"have "restored order at Chiyadzwa (the diamond fields)"and how "we"are putting in measures....."and some such drivel. The PM is already so identifying himself with ZANU PF and the Mugabe government that he is now taking responsibility for things that should shock his constituency!!!

Again I say: Animal Farm has never looked so real.


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