Mbare residents living in hell, resort to using shovels and buckets to empty excreta from blocked toilets

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By Anna Chibamu

RESIDENTS of Mbare’s New Lines and Annex Flats have resorted to using buckets and shovels to get rid of human waste from their blocked toilets as living conditions continue to deteriorate in most Harare suburbs.

Women, who brunt most of the burden of cleaning the non-flushing toilets without protective clothing such as gloves and detergents on Wednesday begged the government to provide a solution to their living conditions as they were using buckets to empty human waste.

The overcrowded houses belong to Harare City Council.

The residents alleged the city fathers had failed to provide required services such as garbage disposal, clean water, repairing sewerage pipes and renovating houses for decades.

The houses were constructed during the colonial era but since independence, nothing has been done to improve on the structures which are now dilapidated, exposing residents to life-threatening diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

Housing minister Daniel Garwe made a tour of the area to assess the said conditions and how the government could chip in to support the disgruntled residents who are living surrounded by their own excreta. witnessed the raw sewage running through shallow tunnels thereby exposing children playing in the dirt.

The women who have sacrificed to clean the toilets which serve several households are being paid a paltry fee daily by residents.

A resident told that one toilet serves more than 300 people in an area that has more than 2000 residents.

“We are using shovels to remove our excreta from the malfunctioning toilets. The pipes are broken and the sewage system no longer exists forcing us to use shovels.

“This has been ongoing for decades but Council officials have done nothing,”

A woman in her early sixties said the houses have no title deeds and she has stayed in a one-roomed house for over 40 years with her daughter, son and grandchildren.

Meanwhile, Garwe said the government will move the residents to new complexes being constructed elsewhere in the capital and demolish the old council houses to pave the way for new housing projects.

“The President is not happy about this situation we are witnessing today. We need to demolish these old structures and relocate residents to where we are constructing new houses.

“Government will demolish the houses and reconstruct new houses with proper sewage systems,” Garwe said.

He blamed the City Council for the current state of affairs at the New Lines area.