Only half of the 4.5 million people living in Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare and its four satellite towns of Chitungwiza, Ruwa, Norton and Epworth, currently have access to clean water from the municipal water supply, a recent study shows.
Harare City Council officials have announced the council can only guarantee potable water to residents on one day per week. The city says it requires about 1,200 million litres of water per day, but the authorities can only guarantee about 450 million litres per day.
As a result, the residents with no access to municipal water supplies have to rely on water merchants, wells, streams or bores for supplies. However, a study carried out by the Global Food and Water Crises Research Programme and released last Wednesday blamed the persistent water cuts on mismanagement of the economy by the Zimbabwe government.
“While the Zimbabwean Government blames power cuts and drought for Harare’s water shortage, it is more likely that years of economic mismanagement and neglected water infrastructure are the real causes,” Mervyn Piesse, research manager Global Food and Water Crises Research Programme at Future Directions International said.
Companies and residents across Zimbabwe are experiencing daily lasting over 15 hours. He said Harare water supplies were drawn from four dams: Harava, Seke, Chivero and Manyame. However, Harava and Seke dams are completely dry, forcing the city council to decommission the Prince Edward water treatment plant, which treats water from those dams. The remaining dams are both more than three-quarters full and the Morton Jaffray water treatment plant treats the water sourced from them.
However, according to Piesse, water from the Chivero and Manyame dams is heavily polluted and the Morton Jaffray treatment plant spends P30 million each month on the chemicals used to clean it. The plant was designed to provide 416 million litres of water per day and, even if it was operating at full capacity, it is incapable of meeting the city’s requirements.
“Food insecurity is also a major cause for concern across Zimbabwe. Successive economic crises have been the main causes of that insecurity and it is likely that the prolonged mismanagement of the economy is also the main cause of Harare’s water crisis.
“The municipal water system was built several decades ago and was designed for a population of 350,000. Parts of the system have not been upgraded in more than 60 years and the last major upgrade occurred in 1994. A City of Harare study, conducted two years after that upgrade, found that more than 30 percent of the water that flowed through the system was lost to leaks. As the frequency of maintenance work has decreased in the intervening years, it is likely that even more is lost now,” he said.
To address the water supply problems in Harare, government signed a P14. 4 billion contract for a loan from the China Export-Import (Exim) Bank in 2011. But only half of the money available under the loan facility has been accessed and it has gone towards the rehabilitation of the Morton Jaffray water treatment plant, which was using original equipment from 60 years ago.
Harare mayor, Herbert Gomba, blamed the lack of water supplies in Harare on the non-payment of residential and commercial water bills by the residents and this prevented his administration from effectively delivering water.
“Even with the loan from Exim Bank, the existing water infrastructure would only be able to provide 770 million litres per day, leaving a shortfall of 430 million litres. The city requires three new dams, to add about 840 million litres of water,” said Gomba.However, without additional water treatment plants and supply infrastructure, it is unlikely that those dams would relieve the city’s water stress.
Without a significant injection of capital into a public works programme to address the shortcomings, it is likely that the water supply situation in Harare and other cities and towns will become increasingly dire. It is difficult to say where that capital will come from, so it is likely that the situation will continue to deteriorate.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.