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City residents blast Govt

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Harare residents have accused the inclusive government leaders of misdirecting their efforts by fighting over petty political differences while the capital sits on a ticking health time bomb due to exposure to sewer water.

Harare Residents’ Trust coordinator
Precious Shumba yesterday said President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai should be ashamed of heading a government headquartered in a city infested with water-borne diseases such as typhoid.

“It’s sad this government is pursuing narrow political ideas of power control and ignoring prioritising provision of clean water,” he said.

“Water is a sensitive issue because it can cause conflicts in the country. The President should be directing his Cabinet to act on water issues and the Premier should be seen to be ordering ministers to act on the matter.”.

On Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office organised a water summit where officials admitted that the government had failed to provide clean water.

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo said:“We have had many meetings, studies and consultations but we are behaving like Nato, (No Action Talking Only),” he said.

Harare City director of water Christopher Zvobgo described most of the equipment at council’s waterworks as obsolete, adding they had not received funding from the government for the past 20 years.

Harare currently supplies 620 megalitres of water a day against the daily demand of 1 200 megalitres.

Speaking at the same function, Environment and Natural Resources Managment minister Francis Nhema described water at Lake Chivero as a disaster.

“Chivero is a disaster. I don’t want to lie to you,” he said.

“When (mayor Muchadeyi) Masunda wants to clean it, he uses six, seven or eight chemicals which we think are safe.

“Since when did you start drinking water from bottles Prime Minister (Tsvangirai) when you grew up in rural areas drinking from river sources?” he asked.

Water Resources Management and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, who was also a guest at the function, said the biggest threat to water sources was the discharge of untreated sewage from the non-functional sewage treatment plants. Harare’s water reticulation system was designed for 367 000 people, but is now servicing over three million people.

“The city is owed large sums of money by government, industry and citizens,” he said.

“No significant investments are being channelled to water supply development and if the millions of dollars owed to the local authority are paid in full, great strides will be made in providing water to residents.”

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