By Itai Muzondo
Masvingo, October 6, 2015– Water has reportedly been a challenge in most parts of the nation for various reasons with the most common being out-dated equipment that is failing to service the ever growing populations in towns and developing growth points. However, the case of Disso Township in Mashava is however different as water has never been connected to the entire community since government took over ownership of the mine more than two decades ago.
Radio VOP’s visit to the troubled town discovered that Disso residents have several other challenges excluding the water woes which include the absence of educational and health facilities leading to the residents believing that they have been dumped to survive under extreme poverty.
“We fetch water from a pipe that feeds the rest of the mine with the precious liquid. At times, we are forced to drink from unsafe sources like nearby rivers because responsible authorities block us from acquiring water from the sole source we have. The challenge has also seen us washing from the bush since our township has no water at all. We are thereby forced to travel more than three kilometres to access the unsafe water,” said Rumbidzai Magodo.
“As our member of Parliament, when Chadzamira was elected into office, he promised to connect a water pipe to our community. We were made to contribute in developing Disso but nothing has materialised to date. We do not know who to lean on to now since our legislator has shown no willingness to help. One well-wisher and local businessman, Manyame often sends bowsers to provide us with water, but this is just once in a while.
“We generally put the blame to our MP since the only tangible thing we see him do is play draft on the shopping centre than work to fulfil his promises or simply update us what the money we contributed towards connecting water to our area is being used,” added another resident, Paidamoyo Mangezi.
An elderly lady who refused to be identified for fear of victimisation said a lot of money was pumped in by government to develop Disso but the funds were diverted to other use.
“As the mine closed down this location was handed over to government. We were told to move from mine property to new land which we were allocated by government and instant servicing was promised thereafter which included connection of water pipes from the mine’s main source and construction of key facilities as a clinic, school and road networks.
“It is now two decades later but we are still to see that promised developments on our doorsteps. We have no water, school and even a clinic. The President once came and we presented our plight. Money came and they built a school and had a road graded near to their comfort zones but nothing was done for Disso,” the 74 year old lady disclosed.
“Our houses as you can see are torn apart. We pay US$ 10 in services to council every month and since we were moved to this place, we have lost thousands of dollars to no avail. We have only four pit toilets for a compound that houses more than 1 000 people. If our situation cannot be equated to that of Chingwizi, then we are far worse,” said Tanaka Mubaiwa.
“Many of us are descendants of Malawian immigrants who came to settle here in search of a leaving. This implies that we are aliens here and politicians are not even worried about us. We were not granted citizenship therefore we are not of relevance considering the fact that if they help us, we are not there to give them a vote come elections. We just patiently await a saviour who will pull us through this mess,” added Pamela Banda.
Worried about the disturbing situation, social commentator Davison Mugodzwa said Mashava residents are living a sorry life which should be quickly amended if possible.
“Disso residents have nowhere else to go because they do not have any other homes except their broken-down shanty dwellings. Most of them being former mine workers are owed thousands of US dollars in salary and pension arrears by both the former European capitalist oligarchic mining enterprise and the Government of Zimbabwe which took over the ownership of Mashava Mines from exiled Mutumwa Mawere who had purchased the mining enterprise.
“As a result teenage pregnancies and child prostitution are the order of the day in the former mining town and as expected venereal diseases and HIV and AIDS are on the increase in the small town. Clean water only flows through the tapes mounted on communal points, away from their compound on Mondays and Fridays every week,” revealed Mugodzwa.
Masvingo West MP Ezra Chadzamira however said bringing water to the area is one of government’s key focuses.
“One of government’s key focuses to this community is providing them with water and very soon, the challenge will be history. Those who criticize us do not really know how government procedures go but we will not be resting on duty, we work tirelessly for the betterment of our communities,” Chadzamira said.
In the past, Zimbabwe has witnessed the worst cholera outbreak ever. Statistics from the World Health Organization indicate almost 5, 000 out of close to 83, 631 people who were affected including children died as a result of the disease. The outbreak was obviously imminent following serious problems with water provision in most urban and rural areas.