MASVINGO residents have accused the local municipality of violating their human rights due to the deteriorating service delivery in the country’s first urban settlement.
By Tatenda Chitagu
This comes after residents in most parts of the city were shocked to see rusty-coloured water coming out of their taps this week, despite the city having previously boasted of being among the best providers of clean water.
The accusation was made by several residents yesterday at a human rights training workshop organised by the Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers’ Alliance (MURRA) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights).
Contributing during the workshop, one of the residents, Entrance Takaidza, said long hours of water-rationing, failure to maintain its record of providing crystal-clear water, repair roads and street lighting, among others, violated residents’ basic rights.
“Masvingo was among the cleanest cities, providing the cleanest water after Mutare City. But of late, the water quality has just gone down and has a rusty or brownish colour. We now go for long hours without water and the roads are in bad shape, while recreational facilities are now extinct,” Takaidza said.
MURRA spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba said the council ought to uphold and respect socio-economic rights of residents through the provision of world-class service delivery.
“The rights to water, education and good road infrastructure are fundamental socio-economic rights for residents that have continued to be violated by the city council as its service provision is on a free-fall.
“As a residents’ body, we urge the city council to uphold these rights by taking up a human rights approach in service delivery,” he said.
ZimRights director Okay Machisa said residents should put pressure on council to improve service delivery.
“Residents should pile pressure on the city fathers. The problem is that we have allowed fear to be part and parcel of our veins, such that we are now confused as citizens.
“Residents should be able to voice out their concerns and move from their cocoons of fear so that social standards which are internationally accepted are delivered by the city fathers,” he said.
Masvingo City Council recently splurged $500 000 on Mazda BT50 vehicles for senior management.
The local authority further used $21 000 for buying accessories for the cars like canopies and rhino bars, much to the anger of residents.