City council, ministry fight for dam control

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Harare City Council is embroiled in a tug-of-war with the Water Resources ministry over control of the Kunzvi Dam project that could be a panacea to the capital’s perennial water shortages.

While the local authority believes it has capacity to mobilise financial resources to kickstart the multi-million dollar project, Water Resources minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said his ministry was better placed to handle construction of the dam this year.

The ministry had already reportedly presented its draft on modalities of the project to Cabinet.
Nkomo recently said: “I think the project will start (this year) because we are talking to the private sector and I believe funds are now secured. As minister, I am satisfied and I believe it should start (soon).”

But Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda yesterday said: “We want to stop talking and get on with the mobilisation of resources to get Kunzvi Dam off the ground. With all due respect to (minister) Nkomo, we are not in competition with him.

We want to get on with the whole project and we are better placed than his ministry to solve the water issue.”

The water situation in Harare has become critical, with residents going for months without potable water, resulting in people resorting to using unprotected wells.

Council last week admitted it has failed to address the water crisis. Several suburbs in Harare have gone for years without water raising fears of a cholera outbreak.

Only last week, cases of diarrhoea were reported in some parts of Harare and residents blamed the out break on on unsafe water.