In another demonstration of the total failure of the Inclusive Government to provide for its people, civic organisations have been forced to petition the government over the continuing outbreaks of diseases that have been eradicated even in the poorest countries.
Zimbabwe was a relatively advanced African state and had managed to control such diseases as typhoid and cholera, but they have made a resurgence as the country's municipalities fail to cope with service provision.
This is a direct result of economic policies that discourage industrial development, leaving the municipalities without the taxes to pay for water purification and sewage reticulation, even as the council officials pay themselves first world salaries and drive SUVs.
Below is the petition that was presented to the government yesterday.
PETITION TO THE INCLUSIVE GOVERNMENT
The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe
The Minister of Finance
The Minister of Local Government Rural and Urban Development
The Minister of Water Resources and Development
The Minister of Health and Child Welfare
The Mayor of the City of Harare
The Mayor of Chitungwiza
We, the undersigned citizens and represented Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), do hereby petition the Government of Zimbabwe through the relevant line ministries and local authorities to immediately set up effective strategies to address the recurring problems of the outbreak of the Typhoid fever and Cholera in Zimbabwe.
In the past week at least two hundred (200) cases of Typhoid outbreak have been recorded in parts of Harare and Chitungwiza while Bulawayo has perennially had chronic water shortages. More cases continue to emerge in these areas mainly because of the absence of clean water and proper sanitation within the areas.
The latest incidents of Typhoid outbreak are part of a disturbing pattern that Zimbabweans are now accustomed to due to the dereliction of duty at several levels by the functionaries of government. The Typhoid and Cholera Outbreaks are now part of annual occurrence in Zimbabwe:
In 2008/2009 Zimbabwe recorded its largest ever Cholera outbreak in history that affected all ten provinces. Around 100 000 people were positively diagnosed with Cholera and about 5 000 people died of this preventive disease. The people affected surpass causalities of even most areas in war and conflict In 2010 the Cholera epidemic once again reared its ugly head on innocent victims with about 64 districts in Zimbabwe being affected. At least 500 cases were recorded
In 2011 helpless Zimbabweans once again fell victim to the Cholera epidemic with at least 1 500 people receiving positive diagnosis. In February 2012 at least 3 000 cases of Typhoid were recorded.
Within five months, the Typhoid epidemic has struck again with at least 200 cases confirmed in the past week. More cases are emerging everyday in parts of Harare and Chitungwiza
At the heart of the problem is failure by government through the relevant functionaries to address a basic problem through, a sustainable strategy of providing clean water and sanitary provisions that meet the minimum standards recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is common knowledge that these cholera and Typhoid epidemics thrive in areas that lack clean water and have no proper sanitation. It is the responsibility of government to come up with short-term and long-term solutions to the problem of clean water and sanitation.
Whilst the government continues to fold its arms Zimbabweans continue to perish annually from epidemics that are now consigned to the dustbin of history in most countries across the world. The government of Zimbabwe has therefore violated its citizens’ right to Health and the right to water.
THEREFORE, the undersigned petitioners demand that the government immediately sets out a comprehensive epidemic reduction strategy to deal with the recurring problems.
More particularly the Government should:
In the short term,
• Engage in candid self-reflection on the dereliction of duty that has resulted in so many deaths and untold suffering to the communities as pointed out above
• Immediately set up a Commission to investigate the countrywide recurrence of these water-borne epidemics and recommend solutions that address the problem once and for all.
• Come up with short-term strategies to curtail further outbreaks of Cholera, Typhoid
and other easily preventable water-borne diseases
In the long term:
• Come up with a sustainable strategy that includes a clear plan for provision of clean water and sanitation to all communities
• Mobilize financial and technical resources domestically and through its international funding and technical partners dedicated towards a sustainable and effective plan to eradicate these water-borne diseases
• Have robust early-warning mechanisms, to detect the occurrence of the epidemics and respond effectively and swiftly in the event of such future recurrence
• Set up clear accountability structures in the event of future recurrences
• Put in place targets, timelines and indicators and monitor progress
Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust
Combined Harare Residents Association
Counseling Services Unit
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe
Harare Residents Trust
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
National Constitutional Assembly
Platform for Youth Development Trust
Research and Advocacy Unit
Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
Zimbabwe Election Support Network
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Zimbabwe Peace Project
Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association
DATED 8TH DAY OF AUGUST 2012
Signed: See SCHEDULE Attached