In the past two months Masvingo Residents Forum noted that, Masvingo city, Chiredzi, Gutu, Zaka and Mwenezi local councils have recorded severe cases of water challenges, power cuts, dilapidated road networks and rapidly deteriorating health facilities in the midst of the pandemic. There has been a marked decline in Zimbabwe’s political and economic situation in the past years worsening by Covid-19 which have raised concerns around lack of political tolerance, transparency and democratic governance and social accountability. In Masvingo urban Victoria residents have gone for more than two months without water.
The city of Masvingo is no longer considering Victoria ranch residents on its provisional water supply schedule. The local authorities in Masvingo province during the lockdown are failing to frequently communicate clearly to the citizens on how to access information from the local authority creating information deficiency amongst local government stakeholders which include citizens.
The local authorities are failing to have a strong communication strategy even before the pandemic, the situation is now worse. Very few local authorities like Masvingo city council is trying to use social media in interacting with the residents. Recently the city of Masvingo has unveiled an online bill enquiry function on its website. Ratepayers can log on to www.masvingocity.org.zw. More so the recalling of councilors and Members of Parliament is negatively affecting service delivery and development in the province. In Masvingo urban three councilors have been recalled in December 2020 and in the midst of the lockdown, residents are failing to get feedback, consultation and information. In the province, there are 5 vacant wards, three in Masvingo Urban, Bikita and Chiredzi and two constituencies Mwenezi East and Chivi South. The by-elections failed to be conducted due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Continual rains pulsation Masvingo province enclose a path of destruction, on-road networks which left the local authorities failing to curb the impact. The impact needs massive funding for rehabilitation and repairs. Key infrastructure such as roads, bridges, power lines and homesteads have been destroyed. Zindove Primary school in Bikta Southward 2 was destroyed by the rains. In Masvingo Urban, the city council notifies its residents and ratepayers that there will not be able to collect refuse in some streets due to inaccessibility as a result of swampy and damaged roads. Some access roads have been left completely inaccessible. The Munzviru Bridge in Masvingo Central, Chilonga Bridge in Chiredzi and Mutirikwi River between Chiredzi North and West and a number of rivers in the province. On 09 January 2021 the herald states that seven people were rescued by the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) while four others are feared dead after being marooned at the confluence of the Tokwe and Runde rivers in Chiredzi following a sudden spilling of a weir upstream.
Other three people were rescued in Chivi as they were marooned between Runde and Shindi. The Civil Protection Unit is using a single helicopter the whole province, families marooned in Mutirikwi River Chiredzi North a helicopter arrived after 24hours while other victims were already swept away. There is a lack of preparedness by the CPU and a shortage of equipment and personnel to assist the trapped members. MRF calls for citizens to abstain from crossing flooded rivers.
Source: Masvingo Residents Forum