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Harare residents mobilize against ZANU-PF
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
December 06, 2012

Residents of Harare's Mabvuku-Tafara, Hatcliffe, Mufakose and Glen View have come out guns blazing against self imposed Zanu PF water marshals who have physically juxtaposed themselves at different water points especially boreholes. Inspired by the acute water shortages, residents are forced to go and fetch water from various other nonconventional sources with boreholes being the most common ones. However, cognizant of this desperate situation, some Zanu PF youths have repositioned themselves after being chucked out from different termini in town at these boreholes claiming that they are now in charge of these boreholes and are the marshals. These self-imposed water marshals are in some cases demanding one dollar from residents to fetch at least 20-40 litres of water. However, residents in these high density areas have vowed not to tolerate these socially uncouth elements in community adding that enough is enough. A resident in Hatcliff who opted to comment on condition of anonymity said that residents were now mobilizing themselves in defiance of these thugs who are bent on making money out of nothing a move which she said had long been overdue because the local district authorities had refused to intervene due to the fact that most of the boreholes were sunk by non-governmental organizations.

Harare has been experiencing serious water shortages in recent times and is failing to meet its daily requirement of 1400 mega-litres of water day against a production capacity of 350-400 mega-litres a day. This situation has by and large adversely affected women and youths who have to toil for many hours during the day and night in search of the precious liquid. On average, one person needs at least 20 litres of water a day and a family of five will require an average of 100litres, with observations that were made by the CHRA research team unraveling that in these hard hit areas most families are only able to fetch 40litres daily owing to the long queues and lack of capacity containers that can carry huge sums of water. The recent attempt to privatize this commodity (by Zanu PF youths) will only get the situation even more worse owing to the general poverty levels in our communities.

In 2010, CHRA drilled at least 10 boreholes in Mabvuku and repaired many others in various other areas. This then inspired the creation of water-point committees who were trained on borehole maintenance. These committees are also responsible for communicating to the main service provider in case there is need for major maintenance. However, CHRA is now concerned that the work which is community driven is now being compromised by political elements who want to politicize water which is a basic inalienable human right. If this situation persists, Harare may find itself in a worse situation than we currently are in terms of diarrheal disease outbreaks. The City health department has so far recorded four deaths as a result of the Typhoid outbreak in Glen-Norah and glen view thus we call upon authorities to come out strong on those who want to make money or advance political interests using these all important public facilities.

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