By Tafirenyika Nemadire
Ruwa, October 22, 2013-Scores of residents on Monday staged a demonstration to protest against persistent water shortages which could trigger some waterborne diseases.
The residents who were holding some placards petitioned the council and demanded to have an audience with the local authority’s chairperson Pinias Mushayavanhu.
Some of the placards read, “Water is life” and “We want our water”.
The residents were however blocked by some council security personnel who demanded to be furnished with a clearance letter authorizing them to stage the demonstration which they did not have.
“We want the chairperson of the town council or any one from the engineering department to address us, and give us an explanation as to why we have been not receiving water for some months now. That’s all we want, “shouted a middle aged lady who was among the demonstrators.
“We have gone for at least two months without getting running water. This is not acceptable in this day and age. We want a council that delivers. They should honour their promises they made when they were campaigning for political power .They promised us that they will address the water issue once they have been re-elected,” said another woman who was carrying a baby on her back.
“We are at a great risk of being infected with cholera and other water borne diseases because of this perennial water problem,” she added.
Ruwa has been facing water problems for a long time .The problem could only be solved if the long awaited Norah Valley Water project is commissioned. The project, which has been on the cards for years, needs at least US$3 million to be completed.
Ruwa town council chairperson Pinias Mushayavanhu who belongs to the MDC-T party admitted his council’s failure to provide water to residents.
He however attributed the problem to delays by government to disburse funds needed for the commissioning of the Norah Valley Water project.
“We are getting the funds in bits and pieces. Last Thursday we received US$150 000 as part of the money for the Norah Valley Water project whose money is yet to reflect in our coffers because of bureaucracy within the government. The other thing is that we are a new town council and we have not yet held any meeting .In fact our first meeting will be held this Tuesday so it is my appeal to residents that they should be patient with us. We know and appreciate their concerns, ”Mushayavanhu said.
Zimbabwe experienced a severe cholera outbreak in 2008 that left at least 4 000 people dead by the end of 2010 owing to a chronic lack of health workers, clinics, essential drugs and clean water and sanitation. The cholera outbreak was the largest in Africa in 15 years but President Robert Mugabe’s administration blamed Britain for introducing the disease as part of a campaign of “genocidal onslaught”.