Health minister David Parirenyatwa has come under fire from Gweru residents after he blamed council for the typhoid outbreak that has claimed six lives in the city.
By Brenna Matendere
Parirenyatwa, who recently toured health centres where scores of other patients are admitted, blamed the MDC-controlled council for the outbreak.
However, residents’ representatives have come out guns blazing accusing the minister of insensitivity and dishonesty.
“The central government itself has not been disbursing the grants council must receive from the fiscus,” said Charles Mazoredze, the Gweru Residents’ Forum chairperson.
“The areas that were affected by the outbreak have gone for about 15 years without water because the council is financially constrained due to the central government’s failure to disburse the funds that the local authority is entitled to.”
He said the government should also take the blame because it had failed to provide solutions.
“We call upon the central government, particularly the ministries of Health and Local Government, to partner the city council in providing support to the victims and to find a lasting solution to the problem,” he said.
Cornelia Selipiwe, the Gweru Residents and Ratepayers’ Association leader, also castigated Parirenyatwa for his statements, saying he was motivated by a political agenda.
“The minister was fully briefed about the suspected cause of the typhoid outbreak,” she said.
“We were shocked when he then went onto the podium to say something different and pretend to be more sympathetic to the victims than the community and the bereaved themselves. It’s uncalled for and not expected from a minister.”
Selipiwe deplored the government’s decision to deploy commissioners to run the affairs of Gweru when there were elected councillors.
“We hear that Enos Size is now the commissioner for the city. Why that development when we have elected our councillors to lead us?”
“It just shows the government has a hidden agenda to plunder our resources before the councillors come.”
In the run-up to the elections, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga denounced opposition-run urban councils and claimed service delivery challenges could only be fixed by Zanu PF.