Maternity Project In Limbo As Zanu (PF) Supporters Grab Water Reservoir

By Criswell Chisango

Alaska, February 19, 2014 – A donor funded project meant to alleviate water challenges for expectant mothers at Alaska mine hospital is in limbo after some Zanu (PF) supporters grabbed a 5 000 litre tank last week in a bid to purge suspected Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) followers assisting with free labour.

Alaska mine is situated about 14 kilometers out of Chinhoyi town in Mashonaland West province and is in ward 13. The hospital has a catchment area of over 5 000 people and it got assistance from GIZ, a Germany humanitarian organisation which is working in water and sanitation projects in Kariba, Chegutu and Kadoma.

A handful of some Zanu (PF) supporters took away the water tank before it was mounted on its stand claiming they were not happy to see MDC-T supporters working on the project. The project was funded during the MDC-T’s outgoing mayor Chipo Mlotshwa’s tenure.

Mlotshwa confirmed that tension is building at the mining town and is retrogressive to development.

Mlotshwa blamed some leaders for failing to separate “politics and development”.

“When the project came here, it was meant for everyone regardless of their political persuasion. As leaders we must refrain from dividing the society especially on health matters. The standstill after Zanu PF supporters took away the tank before it was installed will affects us as women and everyone has a relative who may soon give birth and may need such facilities,” said Mlotshwa.

Some disgruntled residents told Radio VOP here that Zanu (PF)supporters are pushing for underdevelopment as they demonstrated last Friday when they confiscated the water tank after their bid to “purge MDC-T supporters” hit the brick wall.

“Initially, Zanu (PF) supporters demanded that Harrison Phiri who was trained for usage of water system be removed although he was present when the project kicked off two years ago. One of their party member Shoniwa was forced out until the local council resolved to second its own employee,” said Dickson Banda.

Phiri confirmed that he was the main target of Zanu (PF) hate speech. 

“It is unfortunate they are still thinking and acting against development as have been targeting me but I am committed to help my community for free. I am not a politician but a committed social activist,” said Phiri.

Maidei Shumba aged 23 years castigated police for failing to arrest the known suspects.

“Police must arrest them as they stole a tank that belongs to Alaska community. This is uncalled for. It hurts us as women,” said Shumba.

A GIZ official only identified as Ulmer confirmed that they are working with Chinhoyi municipality on the Alaska project but was not committed to comment.

“All I can say is that they must install another tank meant for maternity ward and toilets. We imported special filters worth over $60 000 but the rest of the information speak to the local authority,” was all Ulmer could say.

However, town clerk Abel Gotora was tightlipped saying, “I do not have any comment over those issues” before ending the conversation during a telephone interview.