Zwnews Chief Correspondent

Labour Unions and Non-Governmental Organisations have roundly expressed concern over the cholera epidemic, saying government could have learnt from the 2008 pandemic.

The call come at the time there has been politiking and blame shifting with the new Minister of Health and Child Care, Obadiah Moyo reportedly blaming the Harare City Council for running down the city, and failure on service delivery.

This invoked the city fathers’ response, with City Mayor, Hebert Gomba saying the central government is to a larger extent also to blame. He lambasted the minister saying he should be part of the solution by working together with the local authority and stop the blame game.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, (ZCTU) says the local and central governments should have learnt from the 2008 pandemic, that left more than 4000 dead, and as such, could have put measures that would have curbed the repeat.

“By-laws were not being enforced, as land barons were left unchecked and caused housing developments on undesignated places…

“No one should handle foodstuffs without undergoing medical examinations,” says ZCTU.

Commenting on the ‘taskforce’ that has recently been established by the government in response to the outbreak, the union said while it is a commended move, the government should have co-opted civil organisations, such as organised labour.

ZCTU also called for the establishment of community health clubs so that the gospel of hygiene, and good sanitary practices cascades down.

At the same time, Amnesty International Zimbabwe chapter, has also added its voice.

AI Zimbabwe Executive Director Jessica Pwiti says the current outbreak is a sign of failure by the country to invest in infrastructure development and the health system.

She adds that it is regrettable that in 2018, people are still dying from preventable diseases like cholera.

“The government should have learnt from the 2008 pandemic.

Going forward, current government must prioritise rebuilding of the health system and infrastructure,” says Pwiti.

She adds that where the government lack resources in that regard, it is a mandatory under the international law to ask for assistance.

Meanwhile, since the turn of the millennium, when Zimbabwe’s economy began its downward spiral, the country’s social amenities suffered. The sewer and reticulation systems is too old and failing to cope with the always rising populations in urban centres.