By Nyaradzo Nyere
WHILE the start of the rainy season is something that many in Zimbabwe look forward to, it can be a nightmare to residents in areas where there is poor drainage systems, potholed and poor roads.
It can also have disastrous consequences in areas where flowing raw sewage is normal and heaps of garbage are left for weeks uncollected.
After a downpour, residents have to navigate around puddles. Sometimes, residents are forced to change route because the puddles are so large, making it impossible to jump over them without stepping into the muddy waters.
The situation is even worse in Harare’s high-density suburbs, many of which have poor drainage systems.
Kelvin Ndoro, a resident of Dzivarasekwa high-density suburb in Harare, said the city council needs to sort out the drainage systems before the onset of the rainy season.
“Water is just everywhere, on the roads and in our yards, there are no proper systems to ensure that when it rains, water is drained quickly out of our yards and roads,” he said.
“What makes it worse is that the roads are not maintained and when there is rain, water gets clogged in potholes. This leaves us and our children exposed to water borne diseases such as Bilharzia.”
At the time of writing, Innocent Ruwende, Harare City’s acting spokesperson, said the council was facing a myriad of challenges, but was working to ensure that there are proper drainage systems in place.
“The cleaning and clearing of storm drains is an ongoing process and council is making sure that all the drains within the CBD and the city at large, are cleaned,” he said.
“Our teams are being deployed to various areas to attend to storm water drains.
Ruwende said the situation was made worse by residents who were not paying their bills.
“We are now owed over ZWL$2 billion (US$244 million) and this is affecting service delivery. Residents should know that they fund service delivery,” he said.
Ndoro said some of the drains in his suburbs just needed routine maintenance as they are blocked by garbage, sand and debris.
“These issues are intertwined. If the city was diligent in collecting waste, we wouldn’t have some of these problems. As residents we should not litter in drainage systems as well,” he said.
Tapiwa Isaac, a motorist, said while he welcomes the rains, they have negative consequences because of the poor drainage systems.
“It’s now difficult for us to move around because of water clogging and poor drainage facilities. This has resulted in roads being damaged and we are facing other expenses like continuously repairing our vehicle suspensions.
“We understand that their budgets may be constrained, coupled with power politics with their parent Ministry of Local Government,” Isaac said.
“We are appealing to our local council to take action by cleaning and clearing the drainage facilities. If it means that local authorities have to work with private players let it be so.”