MUTARE – Tenants of the dilapidated Chimoio hostels complain that the national lockdown which requires people to stay indoors most of the time is unfair to them because of the overcrowding.
The filthy flats accommodate hundreds of people who squeeze each other in tiny decrepit rooms.
Two families divide a single room with a curtain and share the often clogged communal toilet cubicles and bathrooms with many other tenants.
Some tenants who spoke to TellZim said they were used to leaving their places early in the morning for their daily work routines and are therefore finding it difficult to spend the whole time there.
“It’s very bad in there, the overcrowding and noise is suffocating. It’s better when you leave early in the morning because fewer people remain for much of the day with more room to breathe. You come back in the night and sleep for a few hours. That is the pattern we had become accustomed to, but to be told now that we must spend all the time here is insensitive,” said one male tenant who is father to three children.
Another tenant said it was difficult to cope because the police are always on the lookout for those who gather anywhere outside the hostels.
“We often came here outside for a breath of fresh air with other tenants but the police no longer want to see us gathered outside. What they do not know that it’s worse inside because social distancing rules are hard to abide by. If one is to contract coronavirus here, it would spread to many others in no time,” said the tenant.
Others suggested that council should disinfect the whole place and upgrade ablution facilities to make the place more habitable.
Ward 1 Cllr Thomas Nyamupangedengu said he acknowledged the difficulties that people of Chimoio and other hostels faced and will ask council to improve facilities and disinfect the places.
Council also owns other equally decrepit hostels like Matida where hundreds reside under the most deplorable conditions.