Gweru's 16 Families- Per-Toilet Suburb Facelifted

By Mark Mhukayesango


Gweru-September 16, 2015-WHILST many Zimbabweans take for granted using a nicely built toilet,
families in Mutapa one of Gweru’s oldest townships have been using one
toilet which services sixteen households ,until council and an NGO
came to their rescue.
Zimbabwe’s oldest suburbs like Mbare, Makokoba among many others have
indelible marks of the pre-independence era which the present state
has failed to abolish-and common in all is the sorry state of toilets.
One such system is sanitation where local authorities have hence
concentrated on the construction of good ablution facilities for new
suburbs, whilst forgetting the old townships  where families are in
danger of contracting diseases due to lack of good toilets.
Mutapa has had a system where a block of houses were serviced by a
single public toilet.
In such appalling living conditions, families live in fear of
contracting cholera due to lack of hygiene.
Before the intervention in the overpopulated township of Mutapa, raw
sewerage was a common sight as the communal toilets could not contain
high volumes of human waste.
Mutapa which is mainly composed of low income earners most of which
have been grossly affected by the industrial dearth in Gweru hence
cannot afford to build their own toilets.
But the communal toilet system has since been abolished as witnessed
by a recent visit to the township by Radio VOP where Gweru City
Council has successfully managed to build toilets for residents.
The toilets were built with the help of Adventist Relief Agency which
constructed small
Toilets at Mutapa section 7 which accommodate 16 families, with an
average of five family members sharing a room.
Most of the houses in the section were constructed in 1909; hence the
ablution facilities were in a sorry state.
Early this year, Gweru council unveiled the new ablution facilities
where a single family now own a toilet.
Council is also elated to have abolished the colonial system of sanitation.
“We saw it fit that to get rid of the old colonial system of housing
by building the new toilets,” a council official said during a tour of
council projects.
“Residents here were using one toilet which is not healthy.”
Ascot, largely comprised of the black population in pre-independent
Zimbabwe also has old houses which are in dire need of renovation.
Speaking to Radio VOP, Mutapa community leader, 66 year old Elvis
Marima said the community welcomes the development which he said was
long overdue.
He said Mutapa was lagging behind in development from other suburbs.
“We were living in terrible conditions. A toilet is an important part
of sanitation and I believe it is a human right,” Marima said.
He recalled how toilets could go for days or more without cleaning, a
situation that posed a great health risk.
“The situation was appalling; we used to struggle to remove the stench
around this area. Thanks to the well-wishers who remembered our
plight,” said Marima.
Another resident, Abel Munengiwa said the ablution facilities although
small will help children live in a safe environment.
“Our children were in danger of contracting diseases due to the state
of the toilets. We are glad they can now grow up in a healthy
environment,” he said.
Following the construction of the toilets health clubs were started in
the area to help residents’ foster good sanitation in their individual