Chamisa distances his MDC party from cholera blame; says govt not doing enough

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By Anna Chibamu

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, whose party controls Harare City Council, has distanced the main opposition from any blame for the deadly current cholera outbreak saying the Zanu PF government was responsible.

Chamisa said this during his Wednesday tour of Glen View high density suburb which has been reported as the epicentre of the county’s most devastating health catastrophe since the 2008-09 cholera outbreak that claimed 4,000 lives.

“We need the Central government to chip in to help. I know they owe the city council a lot of money,” he said.

“They (government) must chip in and help in the situation. I am told the central government has done nothing to try and arrest the situation.”

The country’s latest cholera outbreak has already claimed 21 lives with 3060 suspected cases countrywide.

Chamisa, who visited Glen View Polyclinic to meet cholera patients, described the situation in capital where most deaths have been registered, as disturbing and appealed to the international community for help.

“This is a very disturbing situation,” he said.

“It is more than just an emergency; it is a national disaster. We feel that more needs to be done. It requires a collective national effort and not just the local authority or the council.

“It also requires the corporate sector and the corporate world to come in as well as residents to work together.”

He added; “The central government must chip in and help; they must move in to try and help.

“I am told that apart the health minister coming here; much has been done to arrest the situation.

“We need the presence of the government so that there is a collective approach to it.”

Government on Wednesday confirmed that 21 people have since succumbed to the water-borne-disease with a school head within the affected Glen View high density suburb being the latest victim.

Zanu PF and MDC have been involved in a perennial blame game on who was really involved in the running of the urban authorities with largely ceremonial councils playing second fiddle to Zanu PF-appointed council executives.

During his tour, Chamisa appealed to the United Nations (UN) and other international health agencies to assist the troubled country deal with the disaster.

“My coming here means I am also going to ask for other players to come and give a national push so that there is a collective effort.

“But, more importantly, the international community must also help us particularly, in the context of the UN and other global institutions to come and help us in this situation so that we arrest the problem.”

In attempts to deal with the crisis, government has moved to ban food vending as well as public gatherings in Harare.