It’s quite unfortunate that a preventable disease keeps recurring in Zimbabwe’s capital before eventually spreading to other towns and cities.
At least 28 people have died due to cholera, the worst outbreak in a decade, while more than 5, 000 cases have been reported in Harare.
The source of this dehumanising disease is contaminated water, mainly as a result of sewage water that finds its way into shallow wells and boreholes which are the sources of water for many people in the capital.
Harare’s water supplies are erratic, not because there are no adequate dams but simple because of poor governance.
Water infrastructure has been left to rot over the years leading to water shortages as the few pipes that are functional cannot pump enough.
And when the water does come out of the tap, it will be brownish in colour and, when left in a container for some time, there will be residue at the bottom.
When I lived in Harare a few years back, I never drank tap water for the almost three years that I was there.
Fortunately, I stayed alone most of the time and thus could afford bottled water but for bigger families whose budget is already strained, such a ‘luxury’ is not an option.
Most families have however dug wells and boreholes but this has come back to haunt them, as much of the water from these sources has tested positive for cholera.
As already indicated, this is because of sewage water that seeps through the ground until it reaches this underground water.
Burst sewer pipes and stagnant pools of sewage water are a common feature in Harare’s high-density suburbs, as are heaps of uncollected garbage.
Instead of dealing with these issues, which are a sure recipe for a cholera outbreak, the leadership plays the blame game.
For years, Harare Municipality has been largely dominated by the opposition, something which has never sat well with the ruling Zanu PF.
This has led to power tussles over the control of the capital because while the opposition is in charge of the city, the parent ministry is led and controlled by the ruling party.
So instead of focusing on developing Harare, the two parties keep fighting for dominance.
It therefore did not come as a surprise when the health minister was quick to blame the council for the outbreak of cholera.
In any case Zanu PF will never admit failure, for them, there is always someone to blame for anything that goes haywire.
If you ask me, I would, without the blink of an eye tell you that our government stinks, in fact it sucks because our leaders always seem to have misplaced priorities and this often has dire consequences on the poor, the weak and the vulnerable.
Sewage water that flows right in front of people’s yards has long been an issue, but this is never acted upon until there is an outbreak of diseases or until lives are lost, as is the case at the moment.
A crowd fund to deal with the cholera outbreak has been set up and we are all called upon to make a donation.
Yet only two weeks ago, president Emmerson Mnangagwa unashamedly chartered a plane for the former first lady Grace Mugabe, all the way from Singapore so that she could speedily come home for her mother’s funeral.
What was the urgency in all this, the more than a million dollars that was used for that nonsensical trip should surely have been put to better use but no, and now they are going round with a begging bowl expecting people to throw in a dollar, NXA!