YESTERDAY, Harare residents woke up to an exposé that left many seething with anger: while the city council has failed to provide potable water to over four million of its residents and giving all kinds of reasons, including failure to acquire adequate chemicals et cetera yesterday’s revelation was a new low.
Council has leased a dam to a politically connected individual who is now moulding bricks there.
Not any other dam but Harava Dam which is key in providing the much-needed water to Prince Edward Water Treatment Plant for onward pumping to residents.
What a shock!
Residents have been seeking an explanation to why the city was failing to provide water and all they have been getting were accusations and counter-accusations flying between townhouse and Munhumutapa Building, the citadel of political power.
Consequently, the dam is now dry and it is time to lick wounds and point fingers at who is wrong and who is not.
We are told the local authority succumbed to pressure from a persistent character who, council official Emmanuel Mutambirwa, referred to as a comrade because of his links to the ruling Zanu PF party.
A 23-year lease was given ultimately and now the same council is blaming itself for the scandal, blaming incompetent officials, blaming negligent elected councillors, or just about everybody in sight!
Quite sad, tragic and shocking but then, heads must roll.
Why lease a conservancy that includes a dam to an individual and fail to strictly monitor his or her operations?
It is collective responsibility and while we appreciate that mayor Jacob Mafume is on the case and calling for a thorough probe, will that restore the water to the dam?
It is negligence and taking people’s lives for granted. It is unacceptable.
We see now strenuous efforts to politicise a clear scandal and resurrecting the blame game.
It is no longer time for that.
The MDC on its part argued that some among its members sold out, indeed they sold out working in cahoots with the officials and action must be taken on all involved.
This is criminal and exposes negligence on the part of the council.
The Prince Edward Water Treatment plant has stopped pumping water from Harava Dam as there is nothing to pump from there.
Subsequently, millions remain without water in the capital while someone is living large and calling themselves a business person while brandishing a lease given by the city fathers.
We hope a probe will be undertaken soon and all involved in this act of criminal negligence are brought to book.
A lot has been said about Harare City Council, particularly on issues to do with corruption.
We heard some sports clubs and accommodation facilities were leased for a song with only a few connected benefiting.
All this must stop if council is to be taken seriously.
Government, we are told, is also investigating this issue. That is plausible and worth applauding.
Everyone involved in this kind of act, no matter which political outfit they front, must be held accountable.
Why give something of such significance to an individual at the expense of millions of rate-paying residents?
Mafume tells us they gathered the lessee was violating the lease agreement by engaging in activities not catered for in the agreement. That’s not the point, why give such a lease in the first place?
How long did that take the council to notice? Did that have to wait for an alert provincial development co-ordinator to notice such an irregularity for council to then act?
Did that need an alert councillor to question such a glaring act of miscalculation, recklessness and greed?