BY KENNETH NYANGANI
FORMER Chiadzwa villagers who were relocated to Arda Transau in Odzi, Manicaland province, have been hit by a severe diarrhoea outbreak after drinking water from unprotected sources.
The villagers have been fetching water from unprotected wells after Zesa Holdings cut electricity supplies last year over a $353 000 debt, disrupting pumping of water from Odzi River.
This has resulted in over 5 000 households getting affected, amid reports that five or six diarrhoea cases are reported daily.
Hundreds of Chiadzwa villagers were relocated to Arda Transau over a decade ago to pave way for diamond mining companies in Marange.
Addressing journalists in Odzi last Friday, Zanu PF ward 3 councillor Moses Mujaji said Arda Transau Clinic was recording five to six cases of diarrhoea on a daily basis.
“We wanted to start a fishing project supported by Apiculture, but we are facing water problems. Five villages receive water from the Odzi treatment plant, and the water is treated by the Zimbabwe Water Authority (Zinwa),” Mujaji said.
“The water is pumped from Odzi River by Zesa before we receive it from (Zinwa). All the problems stated last year on November 9 when Zesa cut off power supplies over a debt which is about $353 000,” he said.
Mujaji said every household was supposed to pay on a monthly basis to Zesa and Zinwa, adding that they were being charged using commercial rates instead of domestic ones.
“We don’t have enough sources of income. Each household only has one hectare of land. The soils are not fertile as they are purely pit sand. Because of the water challenges, villagers are sourcing water in wells and rivers, which are poor sources of water. At Odzi Clinic, we are receiving five to six cases of diarrhoea everyday and this is not normal at all,” he said.
Mujaji said last week, they approached Zesa over the issue and the latter promised to restore power if 25% of the debt was paid, while there were also negotiations with Zinwa over an outstanding debt.
The councillor also revealed that almost 60% of houses in Arda Transau had developed cracks, which rendered them dangerous to live in.
“We talked to the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company and they said they were going to send a contractor on November 1 last year to repair them, but they did not come,” he said.
Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust chairperson Cephas Mujuru said: “We still have a lot of issues which need to addressed. We have villagers who are yet to be compensated after being relocated from Chiadzwa, and you know these companies promised us a lot. We are living in abject poverty and struggling to pay electricity and water bills.”
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