By Mark Mhukayesango
GWERU, August 28, 2015 -Eight year old Terrence has never seen running water from his rusty house water tap and his family’s plight seems unending.
The young one lives in a desert of his own ,yearning for the precious liquid to fall miraculously fall from heaven ,whilst those who should care about their plight have remained silent for eight years.
The land has never shouted “Mvura yauya” (water is back) like other youngsters, because the water is never available.
Mkoba 19 has gone for eight long years without running water as the city council seems clueless on how to save the situation.
Residents here say council had neglected their right to safe water ,hence have been condemned to drinking from the gullies and unprotected wells.
Without fear of contracting water borne diseases and in desperation,Mkoba 19 residents drink the water.
Radio VOP visited the ‘desert’ like suburb which has several boreholes drilled by Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) to save the situation.
Although the boreholes can service Mkoba 19 residents , the water project has often been marred by breakdowns and malfunctioning.
“I cannot believe that council has failed to find a remedy for our problem. The water we drink is not healthy at all and we have grappled with diseases,” Mercy Muzhamba a resident said adding that city council should treat all residents with the same respect.
Mkoba 19 water perennial water woes have been a common feature in the suburb among others because of its gradient which makes it difficult for portable water to be available.
The city’s major pump stations at Amapongokwe and Gwenoro have the capacity to supply water to the suburb but the challenge of technology required to match the gradient has been a major bottleneck.
“Providing water for our residents is our number one priority , but due to the gradient of the area, we are unable to provide the precious liquid. Hence we engaged some partners to drill boreholes in the area,” Town Clerk, Daniel Matawu said.
But the city’s town planning has also been brought to the spotlight as residents question the logic of locating the suburb at a place where pumped water cannot reach.
Gweru United Residents Associations (GURA) chairperson , Reward Mhuri said the town planner slept on the job when they planned the suburb.
“It is a proven fact that pumped water cannot reach Mkoba 19 due to its high gradient. Measures should have been taken to make sure that more money is invested into technology that could help the water reach the residents,” said Mhuri.
“Many residents have approached me complaining about the situation which has gone for eight long years, but I’m sure council will come up with a solution,” he added.
Matawu could not be drawn into disclosing when council would put measures to ensure water supply in Mkoba 19.
“We are working hard at trying to ensure that water supply is restored in the area, because we dread seeing our people suffer from diseases like Cholera,” said Matawu.
Moses Murangwa ,a resident said council has not been sincere enough to tell the residents that it has failed to find a solution to the water crisis.
He said residents have borne the brunt of paying fixed water charges when they have dry taps.
“How does council expect us to pay for fixed water charges when are water meters are hardly running. Our taps are dry, children here do not know how it is to have running water,” Murangwa said.
“The boreholes here are in a sorry state, hence we will soon lose the only source of clean water. Council is depriving us the right to clean water and I think the ministry of water should intervene because council has failed,” said Murangwa.
Murangwa and a group of community elders have since formed an organization that will help the community look for funds which for provision of safe water.
In 2008 hundreds of people died in Zimbabwe due to cholera and Mkoba 19 is sitting on a health time bomb which could explode anytime.
The Member of Parliament for Mkoba, Amos Chibaya could not be reached for comment to answer issues of how the constituency development fund has been used in his constituency.
Residents here dream of day they will have running water in their taps and that day seems like a mirage as those that should care are lending a deaf ear.