Water, water at last!

water_aAs I struggled to reach the water level in my shallow well my two- year-old daughter pulled my trousers, shouting in a rather frightened voice: Dad, the bathroom is raining!

Born at the zenith of the ruralisation of urban areas or in the context of – in the words of renowned musician Hosiah Chipanga tsime kumusha, tsime kudhorobha (shallow wells in both rural and urban areas) huni kumusha, huni kudhorobha (use of firewood in both rural and urban areas), she had never seen water sprinkling from a pipe attached to the bathroom wall.

Yes, these were first drops of tap water in Mabvuku and Tafara after at least two years. But whoever made it available in these unfortunate suburbs qualifies to be a national hero: Save vakaoma (MDC is great), celebrated many.

Zanu (PF) is missing in the equation of GNUs positive successes. In fact, there is some form of labelling in GNU: what is bad, and what is done badly belongs to Zanu (PF), and what is good belongs to MDC. Zanu (PF)s commitment to solving our problems is still invisible. Most urbanites believe MDC is trying to restore service delivery, a problem created by Zanu (PF), whilst Zanu (PF) is working hard to make them worse.

Hard-hearted Zanu (PF)

A popular case cited in Mabvuku and Tafara relates to areas that have gone for months without electricity. Speculation suggests equipment to restore electricity supplies was bought for the dark areas, but was taken by Zanu (PF) heavy weights for installation on their farms. Whether these allegations are true or false, they are politically damaging.

Said an old lady carrying a big bundle of firewood on her head: Zanu (PF) ine hutsinye mwanangu. Inoda kungoona tichitambura chete. Tichasangana paX. (My son, Zanu (PF) is hard-hearted. It deliberately creates anguish. We will never vote for it).

Of course, there are complaints that sanctions hindered the provision of water to Harare. These are, however, completely unfounded considering there are no sanctions against Zimbabwe as a nation, but only individual sanctions applied to key members in the ruling elite.

Available resources were used to build political capital. Programmes such as agriculture mechanisation, though sensible, were overshadowed by the political dogmatism they attempted to create. A large chunk was drained on food hampers (BACOSS), youth militia and posh vehicles for the partys bosses. Nothing was spared for Harares water and sanitation, including the amount raided from NGO accounts by the Reserve Bank Governor. Yet the MDC-administered ministry has managed to provide us with tap water, albeit in the face of

worse contemporary sanctions namely Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney General who are making Zimbabwe credit unworthy.

However, without trust and assurances of safety from city fathers, there is still suspicion surrounding Harares tap water supply. In 2006, ZINWA admitted pouring raw sewerage in Harares water reservoirs after Firle sewerage treatment plant broke

down. It is not clear whether the country has managed to acquire enough chemicals to make the sewerage contaminated water safe for drinking. Most think they would consume recycled urine, therefore contract the deadly cholera. Tap water is being used for watering gardens whilst water from borehole or shallow wells is spared for consumption.

The other problem is related to payments. Since the GPA was signed, most residents have been receiving water bills even when their taps were dry. Should we pay for water that was not there? Earlier this month, the City of Harare sent Final [payment] Demand. Should we pay for services that are not provided? We welcome water, and appreciate all the efforts being made to restore service delivery in Harare, but only if there is some fairness in billing.

Post published in: Opinions

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