Mbare New Lines residents happy to be remembered A man directs sewage water from his gate in Harare’s oldest location Mbare, New Lines area yesterday which is set to be demolished to pave way for the construction of new blocks of flats by the Government after it was declared a State of Emergency. — Picture: Joseph Manditswara.

Wallace Ruzvidzo and Rejoice Makoni-Herald Reporters 

RESIDENTS of the Mbare New Lines area have thanked the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa for remembering them following Government’s declaration on Tuesday that their houses had become a state of emergency hence it was moving in to alleviate the situation.

Cabinet on Tuesday ordered that devolution funds be redirected to refurbish housing, sewer systems and enhance garbage collection in the area, a move which residents have welcomed. Their houses were built in 1912 and they have communal toilets which are now a serious health hazard. 

The situation is so bad that a family of six or more people lives and sleeps in one dilapidated room yet they pay rent to the Harare City Council.

Families in the most dilapidated houses will be profiled and provided with temporary shelter while their houses are demolished to pave way for the construction of blocks of flats.

Cabinet’s state of emergency declaration comes as the Second Republic makes concerted efforts to combat the cholera outbreak, which has seen Zimbabwe recording over 2 000 cases and 15 deaths so far.

At Mbare suburb yesterday, the situation was indeed dire as families were trying to employ makeshift mechanisms so that flowing sewage does not enter their houses.

Communal toilets are in a sorry state and are posing a serious disease outbreak threat. There is no collection of garbage and sewage continues to flow right to residents’ doorsteps and in some cases flows into their houses although the council charges US$150 per room in rent every month.

Mrs Chipo Manike who stays with her husband and 6 children in one room welcomed the latest development announced by the Government. 

“I do not even know how to tell or express to you how happy I am because even animals cannot live in the conditions we are being subjected to.

“This intervention also proves my hopes right because I was telling my fellow neighbours recently that if the President remembered Epworth he will also remember us so I am elated,” she said.

Another resident, Mr Edward Mukando, said Government’s declaration had come at an opportune time and it was appreciated.

“We welcome the Government’s initiative of declaring our houses a state of emergency because poor sanitation is exposing us to diseases like cholera. Raw sewage has become a part of our life and our children have become so used to playing in sewage,” he said. 

Mrs Grace Matika, a mother of four, said the situation was so bad that only God’s hand was saving her family from their demise.

She said what hurt the most was that they were paying a lot of money to the city council but it was not being used to address their plight.

“What the City Council is doing to us is very bad because what you are seeing right now is not a life so I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Government for caring when the relevant authorities are letting us down,” said Mrs Matika.

Mr Edson Munhumumwe was also elated when he heard the news that Government was moving in to address their situation. 

“We are happy that the Government has seen it unfit for us to continue living in these houses. These houses are too old and most of them have cracked walls. There is poor drainage system and another cause of concern is the issue of toilets because council is not cleaning or repairing them but we are paying rentals of up to $150 per room per month,” he said.

Another resident, Mrs Idah Chimurenga who is the mother of a seven member family squeezing each other in a dilapidated one-roomed house welcomed the intervention but implored Government to expedite the building of the blocks of flats. 

“We would like the building of the better accommodation to start as soon as possible because we are now living in fear that the roofs will collapse while we are asleep because everything here is just in a sorry state and to think we pay every month is painful,” she said.

Ms Emily Chikavha added: “We use communal toilets and their condition is unbearable. 

“The coming in of Government is a huge step as all our hopes are now pinned on its intervention. We thank the Government for remembering us but we hope the process will not take too long because our hope is to live and raise our families in a clean environment.

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