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Cablegate: Dirty Politics at Work in Town That Voted Mdc

VZCZCXRO1984
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #1101/01 3441456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 091456Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3805
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2487
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2611
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1104
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1880
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2235
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2660
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5088
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1752
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001101

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S FOR B. WALCH
DRL FOR N. WILETT
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI
SUBJECT: DIRTY POLITICS AT WORK IN TOWN THAT VOTED MDC

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The mayor of Ruwa, Pinias Mushayavanhu, and members
of his town council met with us on December 5 to discuss
living conditions in Ruwa, a town of 100,000 people located
about 12 miles east of Harare. The mayor and his staff are
all members of the opposition MDC and displaced the incumbent
ZANU-PF administration in the March 2008 elections. Since
that election, the town has been deprived of virtually all
federal government support. This has contributed to the
rapid deterioration of water delivery, education, and health
services in Ruwa. The extent of the degradation of these
basic needs was made clear during site visits at the town's
water facilities, a primary school, the local clinic, and the
maintenance workshop. Ruwa is a snapshot of what is
occurring throughout Zimbabwe. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------
100,000 People Using a Single Borehole
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Ruwa's citizens are now relying on a single
borehole located on the eastern side of the town. As we
arrived there was a line of several dozen locals waiting to
fill containers to bring back to their homes. The town
engineer explained that they have not received Harare
municipal water for seven months, and the only other borehole
had broken down. This meant that anyone living on the
western side of town would have to carry jugs of water for
several miles. The engineer told us that if the borehole
broke down or dried up, the council would not be able to
afford repairs or the costs to drill a new borehole. After
pondering that possibility, the engineer said, "I don't know
what we would do."

------------------------------------
Raw Sewage Shuts Down Primary School
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) We also visited one of Ruwa's two primary schools.
The school consists of a handful of single story buildings
that appeared to be in reasonably good shape. However, the
school had been closed because an underground sewage pipe
burst, leading to a large pool of standing waste. A stream
of sewage was also steadily flowing downhill across the lawn
that separated the buildings. The engineer explained that
this was the same water we had seen earlier being collected
from the borehole, after it had been used to flush toilets.
Once the pipe burst, school officials and parents closed the
school out of concern children would be exposed to cholera.

-----------------------
The Clinic Stands Empty
-----------------------

4. (SBU) A visit of the Ruwa town clinic revealed a
well-built building consisting of a dozen rooms designed to
provide medical services including basic surgical operations,
maternity care, and disease treatment and prevention. The
clinic was a council-funded project begun about ten years
ago, but while the construction had been completed, it was
essentially providing no medical services to the population.
There was only a single nurse working at the clinic, as the
second nurse had quit earlier in the year. The nurse
explained that there were no patients being treated because
they had no drugs to offer and no doctors on staff. She
showed us the pharmacy which only had a few boxes of medical
supplies such as gauze and tape. The refrigerator held some

HARARE 00001101 002 OF 002


childhood inoculations, but they were ruined because they had
not been kept cool due to electricity outages. The maternity
ward did not even have a tape measure to measure newborn
infants. Poloff asked where Ruwa's cholera victims were
getting treatment, and the nurse replied that they were dying
in their homes. She told us that on the day we visited a
two-year old had died of cholera.

----------------
Garbage Piles Up
----------------

5. (SBU) The Ruwa town maintenance yard houses the
facilities that maintain the town's vehicles, including the
only garbage truck. The truck was no longer in operation
because the hydraulic pump that raises and lowers the garbage
bin and compressor had broken. The engineer received an
estimate of US$5,000 to repair it, but the council did not
have the funds. Consequently, there is no garbage pick-up in
Ruwa, and waste is being dumped illegally or being burned.
Ironically, council members shared that the only garbage
trucks that drive Ruwa's streets are those city trucks that
are directed to dump garbage at the houses of MDC officials.

-------
COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) Ruwa is not unique in today's Zimbabwe, though it
bears a double burden for having voted for the opposition.
The town still has a workable infrastructure that has broken
down because of lack of investment. While unpaid, the
officials we met with were wholly dedicated. Their greatest
frustration was that they couldn't deliver to Ruwa's citizens
that which they had been voted in to office to accomplish.
END COMMENT.

DHANANI

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