City must prioritise garbage collection

HARARE - No matter how hard we attempt to give them fancy titles — some call them waste and recycling collection vehicles — but a garbage truck is still a garbage truck and its mission is humble but critical to the whole well-being of a functioning society: It picks up your mess and keeps your neighbourhood clean.

Elsewhere in this edition, we report that Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has been asked to follow up on the delivery of refuse compactors purchased last year.

Of the 30 refuse trucks that were purchased from South African firm FAW in September last year, only 18 have been delivered. The city is yet to receive 12 more trucks.
The reason being that there is no forex to pay for the refuse trucks. According to acting town clerk Hosea Chisango, the initial foreign currency for the graders was released, but the RBZ has been giving them the run-around since.

Apparently, RBZ governor John Mangudya had agreed to release $300 000 per week towards payment for the refuse trucks but has reportedly failed to honour his promise.

Meanwhile, bins overflow with rotten fruit and other garbage. Pedestrians have to jump over disgusting trash scattered on the sidewalks, at bus ranks, shopping centres and street corners across Harare, meanwhile either cursing the city government or holding their noses.

The garbage has turned into a pungent symbol of the city’s failure to rise above political score-keeping and solve a persistent problem, and they have helped to undermine some residents’ confidence in the MDC-run local government.

Yesterday, at the Zanu PF manifesto launch, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga blamed the MDC-run Harare City Council for failing to maintain a clean city. The capital’s waste is being dumped for weeks, with residents now complaining of the unbearable stench.

Harare’s health officials have warned that Harare is a health ticking time bomb. What was once dubbed the Sunshine City has now turned into a huge pile of garbage as uncollected refuse accumulates.

Some suburbs in the city have gone for over three months without refuse collection despite paying rates every month.

The whole refuse collection management system is in shambles. This crisis persists because Harare is yet to receive the full consignment of trucks bought under a $30 million loan facility accessed from various banks. Surely, the RBZ should prioritise this emergency, acquiring more refuse trucks so that we do not have a recurrence of 2008 whereby 4 000 people died of cholera.

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