By Martin Muleya
Talent Chatsama is a 35year young man who resides in Dada village, just near Watsomba business centre in Mutasa district.
Chatsama succumbed to malaria while in a queue to be treated at a local clinic in his village, which is just less than 500m from his homestead.
His death was a big blow to his family as immediately hearing his demise they had to make a quick decision either to bury him without taking him to the mortuary to save money or to use the little money they had at their disposal to make the long trip to Mutare Provincial hospital or Hauna hospital where there is a functioning mortuary.
Such is the dilemma facing people living in Mutasa district. They have a nicely built Dada clinic that has a mortuary capable of housing three bodies but up to now it is not functional.
The business centre also acts as the free passage way for water that traces its destination to serve Mutare City from Pungwe River via gravity.
Mutasa Central Legislator Hon. Trevor Saruwaka highlighted that Watsomba business centre is ‘an urban set-up’ in a rural area blessed with electricity and a tarred road network and his desire is to have a clinic or hospital at the centre.
“We have a medical health centre here 4km from the business centre called Dada. We do not have a hospital at the moment. It is actually an issue and through the ward Councillor of the area they have identified a place to build the hospital.
“As a constituency here we do not have a mortuary. We used to have mortuaries at St. Barbara Mission and Bonda hospital but they are all no longer functional for more than 2years now.
If a person dies in Mutasa is taken to Old Mutare hospital about 25km from Watsomba or he can be taken to Hauna hospital which is 60km away from the business centre”.
Saruwaka told Post On Sunday that the situation is being politicized, as the completed mortuary at Tsonzo Rural Hospital is not operating, waiting to be commissioned.
He lamented the situation his community is facing and that some from his constituency are forced to take dead bodies to Mutare or Hauna hospital which are 50km away from Mutasa while some would resort to fast track burial without going the mortuary.
“Through Constituency Development Fund (CDF) they built a mortuary at Dada clinic and the British Embassy donated the fridge for the mortuary” added Saruwaka
“Since last year when we finished constructing the mortuary there has been unexplained delays to the commissioning of the mortuary. That service is not yet available to the local community,” he said.
Watsomba business Association chairperson Franklin Nyaumwe, bemoaned that Watsomba should have been given the status of a growth point long back but it was denied that status because of lack of infrastructure.
“We have a business syndicate including vendors, fuel dealers so as to make sure that Mutasa Rural District Council can assist us in securing shops but up to now our plea has been a futile exercise.
For people to generate income they had to establish some make-shift shelter which again the MRDC has been demolishing a feat that has led to vendors selling their wares exposed to direct sunlight, just to eke a living, bemoaned the chairperson.
He added that due to lack of streetlights, people have fallen victims to robbers particular when the sun sets.
Njekwa said while the community religiously pay their bills to Council they have not been receiving service that correspond with the services they are requiring from the rural authority.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists Secretary General Foster Dongozi in his remarks during the media tour of journalists in Mutare to Mutasa district reiterated that the voice of the rural communities has been for a long time overlooked yet there are many critical issues that yawn for publicity.
“We are doing access to information trying to get the voice of the community. As a union we want to highlight issues affecting various communities in the country.
“The voice of the rural community is usually overlooked but there are issues to do with business, service delivery, health, child rights among others that need to be brought to the fore,” noted Dongozi.