CRIMES against humanity are generally regarded as “certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population”. And it is now our considered view that the issue of our government and its councils failing to provide enough clean water to millions of the country’s citizens is now bordering on crime against humanity.
If the water and the sources of water were non-existent in the country, then we would probably have had little reason to kick up dust over this issue. But water is available in the country with both ground and surface sources plentiful. Is it then not criminal that, given the plenty water sources available to us, that we have a competent government overseeing councils that are failing to provide clean water to both urban and rural dwellers?
It becomes even more disturbing when residents of the capital city Harare, which happens to the seat of government, come to realise that they are now being used as pawns in a very uncouth political game. “The Combined Harare Residents’ Association is deeply concerned with the way that the water situation is being politicised and how government is shifting blame. History has clearly demonstrated that party politics, lack of accountability and lack of policy responsiveness destroyed effective service delivery,” the irate Harare residents have observed.
The residents are justified for venting their anger and further stating that: “It should be noted that government departments are among the largest debtors of the Harare City Council, the parent ministry included. Government owes almost half a million to the city council in unpaid debts. It is highly irresponsible and unacceptable for leaders to seek to gain political mileage and shift blame when residents are sitting on a health time bomb. It is quite apparent that over the years, the government has failed to consider water provision as one of its top priorities.”
It is quite painful to imagine that our government is finding it so difficult to prioritise the issue of water, yet the same government occasionally tells us that water is life. How can a government, which cares for its citizens allow a situation whereby Treasury does not prioritise issuing local authorities with enough foreign currency just to buy water treatment chemicals? There is definitely something very wrong in the way government is relating to the country’s councils. Whatever the gripe the government has with the councils should not influence the State into acting unprofessionally.