Mnangagwa Blames Cholera Crisis on Urban Councils, Pushes Reforms

by Oluwatosin Alabi

Amid escalating cholera crises, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa censured opposition-run urban councils, citing their mismanagement as the catalyst for recurrent outbreaks. Highlighting deteriorating urban conditions, Mnangagwa called for sweeping reforms in local administrations to combat health hazards, according to a report by Pindula.

“Residents face erratic water supplies and rampant refuse woes, with collapsed sewer systems now a norm in densely populated suburbs,” Mnangagwa wrote in The Sunday Mail. He underscored that achieving clean water accessibility is futile unless councils enhance their efficiency.

The President pinpointed unplanned settlements and insufficient basic amenities as compounding the public health crisis, stressing the need for a methodical approach beyond healthcare enhancements.

Focusing on practical measures, Mnangagwa announced a comprehensive borehole drilling project, targeting the provision of reliable water in 35,000 villages, backed by solar power for continuity.

In contrast, the Citizens Coalition for Change, overseeing the criticized councils, remained silent on the matter. Meanwhile, Marvelous Kumalo, chair of the Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum, pressed the President to shift from fault-finding to cooperative problem-solving.

“Pointing fingers won’t rectify the dire situation. It’s imperative for the central government to acknowledge its role and unite with local entities for sustainable solutions,” Kumalo conveyed to NewsDay.

He advocated for governmental responsibility in creating water reservoirs and criticized the delayed Kunzvi and Muda dams’ construction, essential for sustaining Harare’s burgeoning populace.

Similarly, Shepherd Chikomba, head of the Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trust, voiced apprehension regarding the urban borehole strategy. He urged investment in urban water systems over rural-style solutions, emphasizing that city dwellers need treated water and that political leaders should serve community interests above partisan loyalties.

This development reflects the intensifying urgency to overhaul infrastructure and governance practices, critical for curbing future cholera epidemics and safeguarding public health in Zimbabwe.

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