ZimRights calls for renovation of sewer, water systems

HARARE - Government must invest in renovation of the old sewer and water reticulation systems, which are prone to bursting, and pump investment in new infrastructure to cope with the growing urban population in the major cities, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has said.

This comes as over 30 people have been killed by a cholera outbreak in the capital, Harare, which has been worst hit, with the disease spreading to other provinces.

The cholera outbreak’s epicentre is in the poor ghetto of Glen View on the outskirts of the city of two million people, where drinking water from boreholes has been contaminated by sewage leaking from broken pipes.

The health emergency has spotlighted the appalling state of Zimbabwe’s infrastructure after decades of Robert Mugabe’s iron-fisted and corrupt rule.

ZimRights said to contain the disease, “there is need for serious budgetary allocations from central government in the forthcoming 2019 National Budget for these capital investment projects as well as to the general health infrastructure.

“Equally important is the autonomy of the City Council and all local governments to be able to plan and implement service delivery without interference from local government in line with the constitutional imperative for devolution of power,” the rights group said.

As part of the efforts to deal with the cholera epidemic, the Harare City Council and authorities have been trying to crackdown on vending through forceful removal and confiscation of the vendors’ wares.

“This, however, is a temporary and unsustainable measure due to the high unemployment currently prevailing in the country, which will continue to force people to look for alternative ways of survival in the informal sector.

What is sustainable is for the government to create decent jobs in the formal sector and strive towards resuscitation of the national economy, and absorb those in the informal sector,” ZimRights said.

The rights group said it noted with sadness the rampaging cholera outbreak and commended the efforts by various stakeholders in curtailing further deaths from the epidemic.

“As has already been publicised by health experts, the disease is a hygiene-related aliment, especially which has been fuelled by poor reticulation systems of water and sewer in Harare, apart from lapses in personal hygiene.

“It important for the government to protect the constitutional right to health, stated in Section 76 (1), by doing all in its power to arrest further cholera-related infections and deaths, and limiting the disease from spreading to other places, but there is also need for a long-term solution,” Zimrights said.

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