5 September 2018

Zimbabwe: City Commission Allays Typhoid Fears

Masvingo City Council has allayed fears of a typhoid outbreak in the country's oldest town, saying the situation was under control with a cocktail of measures being put in place to ease a crippling water shortage in the city.

There were reports of a typhoid outbreak in the city's Runyararo West suburb over the weekend, but the chairperson of the Commission running Masvingo, Cde Goddard Dunira, said the city was free of the deadly disease.

He said there was no evidence to suggest that the two cases reported in the suburb were of typhoid.

"There are no confirmed reports of typhoid in the city," said Cde Dunira. "The cases that are being referred to are only suspected cases, but there is no record of typhoid at our clinics and hospital here."

Cde Dunira said plans were afoot to end crippling water shortages that were caused by a pump breakdown at Bushmead water works plant on the shores of Lake Mutirikwi.

He said the city was getting only half of the usual supply as one of the two pumps was working.

"We have since resolved to deploy water bowsers to areas worst hit by water shortages and we will this week take delivery of 5 000-litre plastic tanks that will be despatched to designated points across the city to supply water as a temporary measure," said Cde Dunira.

"We expect to take delivery of the plastic tanks tomorrow (today) and we hope thereafter the water supply situation will improve for the better because the plastic tanks will complement additional water that will come from 18 boreholes dotted across the city."

Cde Dunira took a swipe at the pressure group representing residents, the Masvingo United and Residents Alliance (MURRA) for grandstanding and politicising water woes afflicting the city.

He said it was strange that MURRA was blaming the commission for water challenges afflicting Masvingo, yet it was the previous MDC-dominated council that slept on the job and allowed the water situation to deteriorate.

MURRA has since sued Masvingo City Council for failing to address the water woes plaguing the country's oldest town.

"Instead of joining hands with council to educate residents about the genesis of the current water problems and how we seek to address them, MURRA has politicised everything," said Cde Dunira.

"The water challenges are being caused by depleted water pumping capacity, the whole water pumping and conveyancing infrastructure needs to be upgraded and that is a technical problem that is not solved by going to court.

"It is shocking that all along MURRA did not see it fit to go to court and only decided to act after the inauguration of the commission into office, everything smacks of politics, which is very unfortunate, it needs everyone to put our heads together and get new pumps not to take each other to court."

MURRA spokesperson Mr Godfrey Mtimba stuck to his guns, saying there was nothing wrong with seeking legal reprieve.

"'Water is a basic human right," he said.

"The right to water is enshrined in the Constitution, there is no politics at play at all, we are not wearing any political jacket, but just following up on the residents' rights as espoused in the Constitution."

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