First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has been visiting homes in the high-density suburbs of Budiriro and Glen View in Harare since Monday this week. She was seen doing laundry, washing clothes and clearing mounds of garbage in these suburbs – long branded the epicentre of the cholera outbreak that has killed 54 people and saw over 10 000 undergoing treatment.
Many in the two high-density suburbs were left in disbelief as the First Lady purposefully went about the household chores to the extent of clearing the rubbish long forgotten in the streets of Glen View 3.
In choosing to leave the comfort of her home to spend time doing the unusual in the heart of the ghetto, speaks volumes about the person of our First Lady. She is a woman of action and walks the talk whenever she makes up her mind on addressing social problems.
We saw her criss-crossing the country for the better part of the year from Kanyemba, Binga to Bulawayo raising awareness about cervical cancer. The unfortunate outbreak of cholera has once again called her to action.
We applaud the First Lady for striving to introduce a culture of cleanliness not only in Harare but in our beloved the country. She hit the nail on the head.
The challenge, in our view, is the emergence of the “I do not care attitude” among many urban dwellers who find it normal to throw litter anywhere even when skip bins have been provided for such.
By visiting homes in the ghetto and doing household duties the First Lady is merely sending a message that it is, in fact, everyone’s duty to ensure a clean environment.
The outbreak of ancient diseases like typhoid and cholera is testimony of the extent to which as a nation we had embraced a culture of filth. While in some countries like Namibia and Rwanda it is taboo to dump waste anywhere, it had long become an everyday way of life for many Zimbabweans hence the timely reminder by the First Lady that this is not us.
We urge every resident to emulate our First Lady and ensure that the spirit of cleanliness is inculcated in all of us.
In the same vein, we remind the City of Harare to also play ball.
Theirs is a clearly spelt out duty – garbage must be collected on time while supply of potable water must be guaranteed. The era of sleeping on duty and still smile all the way to the bank by council management and employees is past us.