The police (both municipal and ZRP) are at it again as they are harassing street vendors and confiscating their goods. Vendors who operate at Fourth Street, Eastgate and Market Square had a tough time last week as they were chased around by the police who accused them of doing business at undesignated points.
Some of the vendors who were interviewed by CHRA on condition of anonymity said that the police had been confiscating their goods and they were not even given the chance to pay the required fine so that they could get their goods back. Moreover, the vendors complained that they had nowhere else to do their business as most market stalls had been destroyed by operation Murambatsvina.
CHRA also received reports from Kuwadzana where vendors are having their goods confiscated by some policemen who are camped near Kuwadzana 2 High School. Residents have pointed out that the policemen actually share the looted goods amongst themselves. Other affected areas include Kuwadzana Extension, Highfield and Glen Norah. CHRA unreservedly condemn the unfair harassment of vendors and urges Council to consider the construction of more market stalls as a matter of urgency as most residents rely on vending for their livelihood.
Water supply and the sewer reticulation
Glenview and Budiriro are still being affected by acute water shortages. Some of the boreholes that were sunk by UNICEF in the suburbs are no longer functional and residents are finding it difficult to cope as some have resorted back to unprotected sources for water. Residents have warned that if this situation continues, the cholera cases will continue to increase and it will be difficult to contain the situation. Other affected areas include Highlands (Ward 8) where residents had no water supplies for the better of last week. Kambuzuma and parts of Rugare went for two days (from Tuesday to Wednesday) without water while the Paradise area in Highfield and parts of Glen Norah have undergoing a dry spell for more than six months now. Areas like Msasa Park, Queensdale and parts of Hatfield lapsed into dry spells again for the whole of last week.
Tynwald North and Dzivarasekwa Phase Three experienced excessive power cuts within the last week. Residents received power for not more than twenty hours during the whole week. Kuwadzana Extension also experienced the same problem which has been exacerbated by the fact that police were harassing firewood vendors and confiscating their merchandise; a situation that left most residents with no alternative source of power for household use. However, residents in areas like Highlands, Mabelreign, Marlborough, Avondale, and Emerald Hill, Masasa, Greendale and most parts of Dzivarasekwa have reported that power supplies are beginning to normalize in their areas. Hatfield, Queensdale, Braeside, Craneborne and Msasa Park are still experiencing intermittent power cuts.
Some supermarkets like Town and Country are selling bread for US$0, 60 while others are selling for US$0, 50. Most shops, however, are still selling a loaf of bread for US$1 each.
Cholera cases are still being reported in Harare in spite of the efforts that have been put by different NGOs to combat the pandemic. Mufakose witnessed two deaths to cholera within the last week and more than four people were admitted at the local clinic with symptoms of cholera. Ward 45 also report two cholera deaths. Glenview and Budiriro are still battling with cholera cases although the number of deaths has decreased.
Residents in Highfields have complained that the Aqua tablets that were distributed at clinics by UNICEF are not being fairly re-distributed to residents. There are reports that the nurses are distributing the tablets to their relatives in bulk who in turn sell the tablets to residents. In another development, nurses at Highfield Poly Clinic are refusing to admit maternity patients unless they bring gloves, needles, razor, sanitary wool, candle and 20 litres of clean water for use during delivery. Reports from Mbare have also revealed that some midwives at Mbare Edith Hospital are demanding US$10 from maternity patients if they want to be ‘delivered safely’.
Most suburbs are still littered with piles of refuse as the City of Harare has not been collecting refuse. UNICEF was collecting refuse in areas like Glenview, Glen Norah and Budiriro but piles of refuse have begun to emerge in some areas as UNICEF has not repeated the programme for some time now. Residents in Kuwadzana 2 are also not happy with the amount of garbage that is piled at Areno shops; a situation that they fear will jeopardize the health of residents. There are vendors who sell their goods at an open space at the shopping centre and the environment is not healthy due to the uncollected refuse. There have also been increased cases of malaria in the area (especially in Ward 38 and 37) and residents believe that this is being caused by the piles of refuse that have become fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Residents in Kuwadzana Extension are now dumping refuse near Kuwadzana Extension Primary school.
The political atmosphere
On Wednesday the 11th of February 2009, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T leader) was sworn in as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, while Professor Arthur G. O. Mutambara (MDC-M leader) and Ms Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T Vice President) were sworn in as the two deputy prime ministers as per the GPA’s implementation which has culminated in the formation of an inclusive government. However, residents are deeply concerned by the arrest of the Deputy Minister (Designate) of Agriculture, Roy Bennet (MDC T), who was abducted on the eve of the swearing in of Cabinet Ministers. Residents reckon that the formation of an inclusive government should put an end to the illegal abductions and all other acts that perpetrate mistrust among the parties to the GPA and Zimbabweans in general as this would be detrimental to the possible political healing process.
Residents look forward to a nationalistic rather than partisan transitional government that will effectively address the economic, political and social maladies that are currently bedeviling the country as a whole. CHRA urges the inclusive government to address the issue of human rights violations so as to ensure the safety of political activists. It is worrying to receive reports of abductions of political activists at a time when the principal political parties have publicly agreed to work together. Such happenings raise questions of sincerity and good faith. CHRA will continue to support residents in their quest for good local (and national) governance, respect for human rights and quality municipal (and other) service delivery.