While the country is grappling with the threats of Covid-19 new variants, elderly residents in Mbare flats have complained about over crowdedness and non-existent service delivery, defeating the efforts to fight against the deadly pandemic and other diseases.
By Tinotenda Samukange/Amandla
Flats such as Nenyere, Matagarika and Matererini are in a deplorable state with garbage continuing to pile up creating a breeding ground for disease outbreak.
Speaking during a dialogue meeting organized by Amandla Zimbabwe, a 76 year old woman, Anacia Chiteka indicated the issue of lack of hygiene in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as hundreds of families are sharing one communal toilet; a room which doubles as an ablution facility, bathroom and sink for dishes.
“Hundreds of people share one communal toilet and at least ten people share a one-roomed flat; the first section is the living and dining room which doubles as kitchen, plus two more sections divided by cupboards and curtains as bedrooms for the children and parents” said Gogo Chiteka
Gogo Chiteka also indicated that the tension and strife caused by crowded conditions was forcing small children to run away from their homes and seek freedom as “street kids”.
What is more worrying is that the Harare City Council which religiously collects rentals every month is seemingly turning a blind to a situation which needs urgent attention as the country battles the Covid-19 pandemic.
71 year old resident, Frank Chikopo blamed the council for poor service delivery stating that the council workers were in a habit of coming to their residents’ work station and just sit all day waiting for their closing time to go home.
“We are living in this squalid environment because the council is dead, they only come to their work station and sit all day, sometimes we see them playing draft. If you call them to attend to a problem they ignore you unless you mention of giving them a token (bribe) after the service” said Chikopo
A 66 year old, Gogo Abigail Mudiviwa also blamed the council for over crowdedness noting that it has failed to provide for proper vending sites.
“The council has failed to provide dedicated vending sites and this has resulted in overcrowded associated chaos. These vendors are blocking roads with their various products ranging from green produce and groceries” she said
The situation at Mbare Flats represent the state of most council-run flats in the old suburb of Mbare as well as other high-density areas like Budiriro, where overcrowding is the order of the day.
Contacted for comment, Harare City Council acting spokesperson Innocent Ruwende admitted that the place is overcrowded but did not proffer a tangible solution.
“We have always attended to sewer problems in the area. The problem is overcrowding. Those areas were not meant for a large number of people,” he said