“Typhoid crisis far from over”

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) on January 9, 2017 participated in a discussion forum which was organized by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) to look into issues of urban land corruption and typhoid.

The discussion forum was held under the topic, “Urban land corruption, the typhoid crisis and 2018 elections”.

Panelists included CHRA Chief Executive Officer, Mfundo Mlilo, MDC-T Member of Parliament for Hatfield, Tapiwa Mashakada, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) Spokesperson, Jealous Mawarire and Election Resource Centre (ERC) representative, Jack Zaba.

In his presentation, CHRA Chief Executive Officer, Mfundo Mlilo said that the scourge of typhoid was yet to be addressed in Harare given the fact that the city council had not addressed the major drivers of the disease such as water shortages, poor sanitation and non-collection of refuse in residential areas.

He also noted that typhoid cases in Harare were being underreported as statistics by the Harare City Council were only coming from Mbare Polyclinic and Beatrice Infectious Diseases hospital.

According to the Harare City council, 132 cases of typhoid have been reported in Harare since December 2016 but Mlilo contended the figure is above 300.

He also blamed the Harare City Council for lacking a disaster response strategy and urged councilors to ensure they implement pro-poor policies.

“Right now, residents are battling with an animal called Wellcash Debt Collectors and there is also the issue of prepaid meters and these are some of the issues that point to a complicity on the part of the councilors in some of the decisions that have affected residents,” said Mlilo.

On another note, MDC-T’s Tapiwa Mashakada bemoaned that land continued to be used as a tool for winning elections in Zimbabwe saying the development had largely compromised urban planning.

“What this means is that the authority of councilors at Harare City Council has been subverted and urban planning has been undermined. As long as land continues to be used as a political tool, it will be difficult to expect proper urban planning,” said Mashakada.

His sentiments were echoed by ERC representative, Jack Zaba and ZimPF Spokesperson, Jealous Mawarire who all concurred that land has always been at the core of the ruling party, Zanu PF’s political strategy and that the development had led to sprouting of illegal structures which are often demolished after elections.

Participants at the discussion forum castigated the Harare City Council for failing to prioritize service delivery; a development they said had exposed Harare residents to diseases such as typhoid and cholera.

The Harare City Council is currently under investigation by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) following CHRA’s efforts to make the local authority account for needless loss of life arising from poor service delivery

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