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Former Harare Mayor Urges Total Commitment To Ending Cholera Epidemic

Attention in Zimbabwe has turned to the critical importance of safe drinking water as the key to mastering the cholera epidemic that has infected nearly 68,0000 people in the past six months and claimed more than 3,000 lives - particularly following a recent government decision to devolve control of municipal water systems back to local authorities.

The central government handed operational control of most municipal water systems in 2006 to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, widely considered to have bungled the task. The Harare system in particular has been plagued with shutoffs and dirty water.

Former Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri, removed from office in 2004 by the ZANU-PF government of President Robert Mugabe along with the rest of the opposition controlled city council, now member of parliament for Warren Park, Harare, says the cholera epidemic could be controlled if the government would commits itself to developing a modern water and sewage system.

A member of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Morgan Tsvangirai, Mudzuri is an engineer who ran the Harare city water department earlier in his career.

Mudzuri told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that only a total commitment by Harare to eradicating cholera will halt the death toll.

The World Health Organization said Friday that the death toll from cholera in Zimbabwe rose to 3,371 deaths as of Thursday from the 67,945 cases reported since August.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe…