By Jane Pasi
Harare, September 17, 2013 – China has availed a US$144 million loan facility for use in revamping Zimbabwe’s dilapidated water and sanitation infrastructure. The loan facility is set to enhance efforts to bring an end the perennial water shortages bedevilling Harare and other cities.
Officially opening of the First session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe on Tuesday President Robert Mugabe acknowledged the existence of perennial water woes which the government has struggled to eradicate over the years.
The funds, according to Mugabe, were obtained through a loan facility from the People’s Republic of China, one of Zanu PF’s closest allies since the adoption of the Look East Policy soon after relations with Western governments and the United States of America soured over allegations of human rights violations and breakdown of the rule of law in the country.
“Citizens in some of our urban centres especially Harare and Bulawayo have for quite some time now endured unreliable water and sanitation services,” lamented Mugabe.
He blamed the unreliable services to lack of capacity from the local authorities in the respective cities saying this could have been worsened by debts owed to the municipalities by residents since the country adopted the multi currency system in 2009 at the start of the now defunct inclusive government. Despite this, the Zanu PF-led government scrapped utility bill debts owed to local authorities and around the country by residents. has The city councils now collect depleted revenues and are failing to pay salaries and essential services on time.
Zimbabwe also pulled out of the crucial bloc, the Commonwealth club in 2002, with Mugabe then saying there was no value gained by being in the grouping.
The president said three new dams and water treatment plants will be constructed over a period of the 7 years as an attempt to supply residents with clean drinking water and improved sanitary services, a development he said was “expected to significantly improve water supply” in the country.
He added that “such turn around initiatives will be implemented in Bulawayo and other cities”.When eventually implemented, the strategy will eradicate the outbreak of dreaded water borne diseases like cholera and diarrhoea.
President Mugabe recently appointed Saviour Kasukuwere as the new minister of Environment, Water and Climate removing him from the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment ministry now headed by Francis Nhema. Lobhengula Member of Parliament Samuel Sipepa Nkomo of the Tsvangirai-led MDC headed the water ministry during the just ended inclusive government.