‘Families relieve themselves in buckets and empty their waste in pits dug in their backyards’


The bulk of Chitungwiza residents have been forced to resort to the bucket toilet system as council struggles to bring a permanent solution to sewage and water reticulation problems affecting most parts of the town.

In a snap survey in Chitungwiza’s Unit M suburb, NewsDay discovered that some families were relieving themselves in buckets before emptying their waste in pits dug in their backyards.

At one of the houses, the waste is emptied in a sewage manhole which is in the yard.

In an interview, a resident, Rosejoy Gonye said the residents were in a difficult situation.

“The life of excreting in buckets is not easy. Four families live here and there are at least three children. Right now, the toilet is full, we need to empty it and we are relieving ourselves in a bucket. At some houses, people dug pits to pour stool but here we put it in the manhole,” she said.

“Due to the situation here, we had to send our sick 97-year-old grandpa to Zengeza because his condition would worsen. Sometimes stool overflows into his room which is near the toilet. We are living by the grace of God. We have been calling the council each and every time, but they do not come to attend to the problems.”

Gonye said council had failed to attend to the problem for more than a month after residents raised the issue.

At another house, sewage was overflowing from an outside toilet.

“This is now a month and two weeks since council came to attend to this. Acting mayor (Kiven Mutimbanyoka) came to see the situation back then and it was fixed, I don’t want to lie,” one resident said.

“The challenge started again and council officials say that the honey sucker (waste collector) is being fixed.”

Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trust Chitungwiza chairperson Obert Matsika expressed shock that the town was still facing sewage challenges a year after acquiring equipment from the African Development Bank under the water supply and sanitation rehabilitation programme.

“We are disappointed. It is a painful situation to see senior citizens living in houses where they have to use the bucket system. We are disappointed,” he said.

“If there is a cholera outbreak in Chitungwiza, many people will die because of this. Government should ensure that we have our own source of water.”

Chitungwiza Municipality spokesperson Lovemore Meya said the reported sewer bursts were recurring despite being attended to, adding that council previously flighted a tender and bidders could not meet its expectations.

— Zimbabwe Independent

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