Cholera fears mount in Chitungwiza

Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent

Chitungwiza residents are living in fear of disease outbreaks as the town has gone for six months without clean water supplies, forcing residents to resort to open defecation.

The water shortages have also seen residents buying water for about $2 per bucket.

There are also health concerns as the residents are getting some of the water from unprotected sources.

Section 77 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution states that “every person has a right to safe, clean and potable water”.

The Herald went around Chitungwiza to assess the water situation, with residents having no kind words for the MDC-Alliance-led council, which admitted that it has no capacity to end the water challenges.

A six-month pregnant woman from St Mary’s near Chigovanyika area Mrs Vimbai Tavatya narrated her daily ordeal in accessing water.

“The water crisis is a thorn in the flesh for me,” she said.

“I came here at around 9am and its now 4pm, but still I haven’t managed to fetch even a bucket. I can’t stand being shoved in the queue, fighting is the order of the day here.

“As you can see, we are drawing water from an unprotected source, but this is the water we are drinking, we have no choice.

“It’s either you drink this water or part with your hard-earned cash to buy from selected individuals who have protected wells at their houses.”

A resident from Unit M Mr Tanaka Matate said they last received tap water five months ago, and they were relying on purchasing the precious commodity.

“I buy water for $2 a bucket, which is unsustainable in these harsh economic conditions,” he said.

“I am now resorting to open defecation, as I can’t afford to buy the water.

“There is a nearby borehole marred with chaos as people will be fighting to jump the queue. I have tried to join the queue on several occasions, but ended up reporting late for work, leaving me without an option besides of just buying drinking water.”

Some opportunists are also taking advantage of desperate residents, making them pay to jump the queues.

The pushcart business is also seemingly thriving as operators are charging $20 for the filling and ferrying 10 buckets.

Chitungwiza public relations manager Mr Lovemore Meya said their hope was now in Government intervention.

“We are trying to address that crisis since Government has intervened on the Harare issue,” he said.

“What it simply means is that when Harare is sorted, we are also sorted because we do get our supplies from there. We also received about $6 million from Government that is earmarked for borehole drilling, that is also part of alleviating the water situation in Chitungwiza.

“We have also seen Government intervening on the part of feasibility studies on Muda Dam project construction.

“Government has actually committed itself by availing $3 million for feasibility studies, but we haven’t received the money yet.”

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