MP opposes Govt anti-cholera measures

by Bevan Musoko

In a development that has surprised Marondera residents, the MDC Alliance House of Assembly Member for Marondera Central, Caston Matewu is mobilising food and other vendors in the town to resist Government efforts to relocate them to designated vending sites with adequate health facilities as part of measures to contain the further spread of the cholera outbreak.

Authorities in the town have embarked on a massive awareness campaign against the water-borne disease. Among other measures being implemented include the banning of illegal food vendors who had sprouted throughout the town. Mashonaland East Provincial Administrator Tavabarira Kutamahufa told the media that they had suspended the Schools Feeding Scheme programme as part of a cocktail of measures to deal with cholera.

Matewu was on Monday seen in the town urging the vendors to resist the ban on illegal food vending, on the basis that Government had not provided the vendors with alternative sources of income. He was heard inciting people to resist the ban saying "there are no jobs being created by the Government, therefore the vendors have a moral right to feed their families. We support their right to remain on the streets."

Residents who spoke to this reporter castigated Matewu for irresponsible politicking at a time when the outbreak has so far claimed 30 lives. A resident in Rusike suburb, Spiwe Mukombachoto said "these MDC people are always playing politics, even where peoples' lives are at stake. How can someone support illegal vending of food in such a situation? It shows he has no interests of the public at heart."

Another resident, Ackim Phiri urged Police to intensify their blitz against food vending.

Contacted for comment, Kutamahufa condemned irresponsible statements and interference by politicians in the fight against the epidemic, saying it was making their work difficult. He called for cooperation from all stakeholders.

Matewu switched off his phone when contacted for comment on the issue.