BY RICHARD MUPONDE
NSWAZWI villagers in Bulilima West constituency have gone for eight years without safe drinking water after the engine that used to pump water to their taps disappeared when it was taken to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) for repairs.
The villagers rely on water from a dam which they share with domestic and wild animals, including elephants that cross the border from Botswana into Zimbabwe, but the unprotected water source perennially runs dry around September, exacerbating the villagers’ problems.
The villagers, who revealed their plight to legislator Dingimuzi Phuti over the weekend, said they feared contracting waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera.
The villagers were serviced by tap water from boreholes drilled by government in the 1990s, but have had no running water since 2001 after their engine broke down.
Businessman Somandla Sibanda said water problems were a headache for the villagers as women were travelling over eight kilometres to fetch the precious liquid from Maitengwe River.
“We had our engine here, but when it broke down, it was taken by Zinwa and never returned. Right now, we are sharing water sources with animals. As I speak, there is a donkey which is rotting in the dam and that’s the same water we are drinking. We appeal to government to solve this water problem,” Moyo said.
Headman Jetjeni, under whose jurisdiction the villagers fall, said four villages were affected by the water woes and community members now relied on the weir.
“The other problem is that elephants also drink from the dam and it’s now fast running out of water. When we reach August or September, it would be dry and we find it difficult to get water for our livestock and domestic use,” Jetjeni said.
Phuti, however, told them he had been talking to Zinwa over the issue.
“We will solve the water problem. The issue of water is a painful matter. It does not make sense that there are boreholes and pipelines, but people have no water,” he said.