Mtshabezi pipeline delay — who is to blame?

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Construction of the 32-kilometre Mtshabezi pipeline, which is expected to augment water supply to the city of Bulawayo, is yet to be completed.

The short-term water project has evidently taken much longer than expected but the million dollar question would be who is to blame for its delay?

Is it really necessary for the current government to blame the previous government for failing to complete the pipeline?

The previous government will also blame the former one for its failures as well, and yet the people of Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city, continue to go without water, a basic need and human right.

Some people believe that all the governments, current and previous ones, are to blame for the delay in constructing the pipeline, while some choose to blame the current inclusive government.

Zapu spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo said all governments were to blame as they had all failed to construct the pipeline.

“All governments, dating back to the Smith government, are all to blame for the delay in constructing the pipeline as they have all failed to complete it,” he said.

“Any serious government that was willing to have this project completed would have done so.”

Moyo said even the IG, which has been in existence for the past two years, could have been able to complete that project, if they were willing.

Lawton Hikwa, an academic at the National University of Science and Technology said all the governments have simply politicised a basic human need.

“The blame by one government on another is a common political excuse and it has always been the norm that governments blame each other for failures,” he said.

“What they are doing is simply politicising a basic human need and right.”

Hikwa reiterated Moyo’s sentiments that the IG should be more serious about completing the project.
“It would be also good for the government to involve other partners in the project to speed-up its completion,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khuphe on Friday said poor planning by the previous government had caused delays in the construction of the dam link pipeline.

However, Qhubani Moyo, the national executive secretary for youth in the Welshman Ncube-led MDC said the current water minister was to blame.

“The provision of water for the Bulawayo people from the Mtshabezi dam is solely Samuel Sipepa Nkomo’s responsibility and problem because he is the minister currently in charge of water,” he said.

“The government allocated some funds for that project but there is no sign that it will be complete in the near future.”

Moyo said it was the responsibility of Water Management and Development minister to sort out the pipeline.

However, in response, Sipepa said his ministry was working tirelessly to make sure that the project was complete by the end of the year.

“All that matters is that the construction of the pipeline is on course and we are hoping that by the end of the year it will be complete,” he said.

“Pointing fingers and putting blame on people will not work. Our agenda is to deliver water to Bulawayo,” Sipepa added.