In yesterday’s issue of The Herald we carried a story in which veterans of the country’s liberation struggle spoke a lot of sense.
Addressing journalists in Harare on Monday, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association spokesperson Mr Douglas Mahiya said some senior Government officials were focusing on trivia at the expense of service delivery.
In particular, he said Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere should concentrate on building the party than expelling members and other trivial issues that do not add value to the revolutionary movement.
Without taking sides, these words of wisdom cannot go unnoticed as they speak to a number of bigger problems in the area of service delivery at local government level — Cde Kasukuwere’s portfolio in central Government.
And by default and not design, the article in question was carried on Page 3, just under a piece reporting on the decline in typhoid cases.
Said Mr Mahiya: “I was in Mutare recently and there are lots of potholes; go to Chitungwiza and I think even in Bulawayo and other towns that is what is happening. The national political commissar is busy trying to remove us from the party, destroying the party and yet the Ministry of Local Government has failed dismally to deliver that which it has been mandated (to do).”
And, in the typhoid story, Health and Child Care minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, said: “We are confident that we are on course in containing the outbreak as we begin to see a decline in both the number of suspected and confirmed cases . . . We still have challenges of poor drainage systems, sewer blockages, no refuse collection in some settlements and these are possible causes of water-borne diseases. If these are not addressed as a matter of urgency, we can never safely say we have contained typhoid.”
According to the first story, Mr Mahiya’s remarks came in the wake of a meeting of mostly acting Zanu-PF provincial chairmen presided over by Cde Kasukuwere that dealt on who party members should associate with.
Cde Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Professor Jonathan Moyo have been going to town over guests and a mug inscribed “I am the boss” that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was pictured holding at a New Year’s party at his rural home in Mapanzure.
Personalities and egos aside, what is more serious: the typhoid outbreak or the “I am the boss” mug fiasco?
While some ministers have been holding meetings to soil the names of fellow party members, serious issues beg for attention.
Harare City Council, for instance, has been issuing ultimatums to food vendors trying to eke out a living on the streets. According to the city fathers, it is the vendors who are to blame for the spread of typhoid.
Never mind the poor drainage systems, sewer blockages and uncollected refuse as mentioned by Dr Parirenyatwa — vendors are contaminating their own food, according to the custodians of the capital city.
These are the issues, Cde Kasukuwere. Typhoid kills. Everything else can wait.
As pointed out by Dr Parirenyatwa, poor sanitation remains an issue with the potential to derail all current efforts to arrest typhoid. He also said reports coming from health officials in Harare, Ruwa, Epworth, Norton and Chitungwiza showed that local authorities were relegating their duties to provide adequate sanitary facilities to residents.
We urge the Ministry of Local Government to take its rightful place in not only the fight against typhoid, but poor service delivery in general. While councillors are busy lining their deep pockets, rubbish is piling up, road lights are off, clean water supplies are erratic and potholes are the order of the day.
Urban councils are begging for maximum supervision. They need a minister who is equal to the task.
Firm, but fair.
Surely by now, all that needs to be said about the coffee mug has been said. Let’s get back to real business.
Article Source: The Herald