ZINWA’s house in absolute disarray

ZINWA like most or all other government parastatal must have a board as the supreme advisory structure and which determine the direction and the constant evaluation of the technical staff at the helm of the organization.

At this critical juncture, amid the turbulent storms of the parastatal’s chronic failure to provide water to the city of Harare residents and Zimbabweans at large, CHRA is informed that the ZINWA board was dissolved together with the cabinet in the run up to the March 29 harmonized elections. Mr Muyambo, the ZINWA C.E.O is currently at the helm of the beleaguered institution which has been characterized by a reputation of incompetence since its inception in 2006.

The absence of leadership at ZINWA which already suffer lack of capacity and acceptance has compounded the residents` water and sewer management woes since the level of leadership that remains has limitations in decision making. The water body has experienced massive brain-drain because of its failure to competitively remunerate workers. The few workers remaining at ZINWA are also reluctant to work as there is no adequate protective clothing and vaccines to protect them from contracting diseases. This situation has seen most high density suburbs in Harare being infested with raw sewerage due to unfixed burst sewer pipes.

The defacto deputy Minister of Water and Infrastructural Development has been calling for stakeholder involvement by ZINWA thus acknowledging the parastatal’s failure. He has desperately tried to divert the attention of residents from the calamities that ZINWA has brought on Harare through suggesting these cosmetic suggestions. CHRA maintains that this is something he should have been done two years ago. Politicians must swallow their pride and admit that the decision to hand over the administration of water and sewer reticulation services to ZINWA was disastrous in the least. If playing the blame game is all that the Minister can do, then that puts his credibility on the line. Residents demand long term solutions among which is the return of water and sewer management to the local authority.

The Combined Harare Residents Association would like to call upon the national political leaders to find a solution to the water crisis in the city of Harare and across the country. The crisis has seen residents plagued with a multi-faceted political and socio-economic crisis, resulting in outbreaks of diseases caused by water shortages and failure to access medical attention because of a number of related issues. CHRA membership has had frustrating experiences with ZINWA where the water authority has either shunned to  attend meetings organized by residents or simply ignored their complaints. The few times that ZINWA has responded to residents’ calls for meetings, junior staff who cannot fully respond to issues has represented the authority.

Harare residents have consistently called for the return of water and sewer management to the city of Harare local authority and have already challenged the councilors and Members of Parliament to push for the reversal of the ZINWA takeover. The current dire water crisis and lack of effective sewer management which has resulted in scores of people dying and the rest constantly facing the risk of cholera and other related illnesses continue unabated and the residents need the brunt offloaded their shoulders while ZINWA has more internal than external problems to deal with. The parastatal can not deliver; suffice to say that the critical services it purportedly offers should be assigned accordingly.

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

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