BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Families in the southern Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo are going up to four days without running water as drought dries the dams the city depends on, city council officials said.
The city has since late November imposed 96-hour dry periods for residential water customers, though industrial and business users have continued to receive service, according to the Bulawayo City Council.
An extended drought has reduced supplies of stored water, forcing the city to decommission two of its major supply dams, said Nesisa Mpofu, a spokeswoman for the council.
Shortages of hydropower-produced electricity also have affected the city’s ability to pump water from the dams, she said.
“Out of six dams, Bulawayo now remains with four water sources,” she said.
The four-day water outages – up from three days previously – have spurred widespread local efforts to store more water and to find alternative sources.
Arnold Batirai, a councillor for Nketa, a suburb of Bulawayo, said many residents in his area had access to alternative water sources such as wells or water supply trucks provided by the council.
But he acknowledged that not all borehole wells were still functioning, while shortages of fuel had affected water truck deliveries in some areas.
“Despite these challenges, we do encourage residents to conserve water and report burst pipes or water leakages,” he said.
Many residents now keep buckets or other containers of water in their homes, sometimes filled at their place of work.
“I carry a 25-litre container to work, where I fetch water from the bathroom, mindful of colleagues who may report me to my superiors,” said Siphathisiwe Ndimande, a mother of three who lives in Nketa.
Affluent residents in some suburbs have dug new deep wells in response to dry taps and installed large tanks that store thousands of liters of water.
Other parched residents, such as 71-year-old Mildred Mkandla, have installed water harvesting systems on their homes, to catch what rain falls.
“Residents don’t harvest rainwater but watch it flow away,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“My household is unaffected by the shedding because our main source of water is underground water, while I also harvest rainwater from the roof (and) that’s connected to the taps,” she said.
Mkandla said her household had installed a 46,000-litre (12,000-gallon) water tank to store rainwater, and now does not rely on city water – or pay bills for it.
Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, said several years of drought had created serious problems for Zimbabwe’s water supply.
“We are still recovering from a devastating drought that occurred (in 2018) due to El Nino. Under normal circumstances during this time of the year, the country would have recorded significant amounts of rainfall with impact to our dams,” he said.
‘WATER FOR ALL’
Zimbabwe has seen rain in recent weeks – including violent storms that destroyed roofs and washed away bridges – but water reserves overall remain low.
Ndlovu said families had been advised to try to harvest rainwater and to plant early maturing crops, which require a shorter period of rainfall to grow.
“My ministry is looking at how best to assist communities,” he said.
But some Bulawayo residents said the national government had done too little to help the city.
“Government has done nothing to solve Bulawayo’s water crisis,” complained Sinothando Mathe, who lives in Pumula North, a poor western suburb.
Faced with struggling residents, Raji Modi, a Bulawayo South legislator and the country’s deputy minister of industry, in November initiated his own “free water for all program”.
Water trucks he has hired now deliver water to neighborhoods without it, drawn from his own borehole wells.
“I have a sustainable water plant and decided to assist residents who go for days without due to water cuts,” he said, noting the cost of the effort was mainly fuel for the trucks.
Modi suggested pumping and storing more groundwater could be one way to help Bulawayo deal with its worsening water shortages.
“We need to invest in modern technology and effectively use underground water. Countries in the Middle East don’t have much water yet don’t have a crisis because they invest in technologies,” he said.
“We need to adopt the same because water is the foundation for industrialization and development,” he said.
Bulawayo City Council officials said they remains optimistic Bulawayo will not face a “Day Zero” where taps run completely dry despite rationing and restrictions.
Cape Town, in neighboring South Africa, avoided such a situation in 2018 by making widespread reductions in water use. Many of those restrictions still remain in place, in recognition of long-term climate-driven drying in the region.
For now, Bulaway officials have pinned their hopes on divine help.
“Despite interventions in place, we pray it rains,” said Sikhululekile Moyo, a councillor for Pumula North.
She said a long-term solution would be to bring water to Bulawayo from the Zambezi River, 400 km away – but plans for such a diversion are costly, have been delayed repeatedly for more than a century and are opposed by Zambia.
Reporting by Lungelo Ndhlovu @lauriegoering ; editing by Laurie Goering : Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit news.trust.org/climate
Zanu Pf attacks Chin’ono over Covid-19 scandal
By Bloom Tizora
Zimbabwean journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono is under fire from ruling party Zanu Pf. In a statement today Zanu Pf spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa said, “ZanuPf, has noted with concern, the systematic, well-choreographed and sponsored attacks on the integrity of First Family by unscrupulous characters such as Hopewell Chin’ono this time targeting the President’s son (Collins Mnangagwa)”.
Collins is linked to Delish Nguwaya of Drax International the company being used to loot the Zimbabwe State through Covid-19 procurements according to Chin’ono.
After the ZanuPf press conference, Chin’ono said, “My life is in danger after ZanuPf attacked me personally through their spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa accusing me of targeting the Mnangagwa family”.
” ZanuPf should not intimidate journalists using fear, I will not be cowed from saying the truth”, he said.
Since taking power from Robert Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa family has been accused of corruption by many people.
OPEN LETTER TO COMMISSIONER-GENERAL OF ZIMBABWE REPUBLIC POLICE
Dear CGP Godwin Matanga Sir,
I address you, not because I am a former policeman but as a patriotic and peace-loving Zimbabwean. I have decided not to use the proper channel to address you since I am in pain and a great shock. As enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Police Service must protect and secure the lives of people living in the country. And it should also maintain law and order.
I have read the gruesome murder of an innocent civilian Paul Munakopa by our police officers from Hillside Police Station in Bulawayo. Mr. Munakopa died of injuries after officers opened fire at his vehicle on Saturday 23 May 2020. It pains me to see this kind of police brutality happening daily to my fellow citizens.
Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is loud and clear ‘RIGHT TO LIFE’. As told by Mr. Munakopa’s wife he was not armed or possession of any weapon. It’s now over a week you have done nothing to bring the culprit to book. Look at what is happening in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States of America last week, a policeman killed an unarmed man, George Floyd. In less than 48 hours the cop was fired from police service and arrested for third-degree murder. The same should happen to the late Paul case here in Zimbabwe.
A fortnight ago three female opposition activists were arrested for staging an illegal demonstration in Harare. The activists were abducted and sexually assaulted whilst in police custody. As a former policeman, I am aware sir, every accused person in police custody is subject to booking and every occurrence at a police station is recorded in the Occurrence Book. What happened to these three ladies? I am praying for your immediate resignation from the Police Service since you do not deserve to lead such a vital government department. It’s far much better to concentrate on farming at your farm. We are sick and of human abuse by Zimbabwe security agents.
Yours in pain
Bloom Tizora (Author of 2 books, blogger, writer and former Zimbabwe policeman)
Zimbabwe Is Having A Political Showdown During The Corona Shutdown
As the world is grappling with the Corona pandemic, Zimbabwe, an economically bedridden country which was once the bread basket of Africa has its political landscape filled with drama of political power struggles whose episodes even extend into the court galleries.
At the forefront is the battle of leadership of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party which was headed by the late former Premier of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai but was now subject to contention between Nelson Chamisa and ThokozaniKhupe.
Chamisa who claims to be the winner in the country’s last presidential elections under the MDC Alliance ticket is the main challenger to the Mnangagwa led government while Khupeheaded the MDC-T which garnered 45 626 votes in the presidential race which had millions of voters.
With Zimbabwe’s Corona linked shutdown, many businesses were instructed to close with the exception of essential services providers, thus the courts were busy with the matter and later politicians had to brave the pandemic and hold press conferences about the court verdict.
Even though she does not have a strong mainstream political backing from the majority of ordinary card carrying members of the whole MDC movement, Khupe who enjoys a cordial political relationship with the ZANU Pf led government claimed to be the rightful leader and won in the court of Law.
With typical treachery, deception, rebellion and betrayal which is common in most power struggles, the Chamisa led group is faced with a serious test of survival as key elements that have seemingly stood as allies to the youthful leader are proving to be having Khupe’s back.
Some politically active Professors like Welshman Ncube and Jonathan Moyo have stood on Chamisa’s side in this struggleand labelled the court decision as a non-event.
“The lie that whomever is the President of the MDCT is President or leader of the MDC Alliance is being propagated by desperate charlatans. Clause 3.1 of the Alliance agreement only provided that Tsvangirai would be the Alliance Presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.
…In the event of the unavailability of Tsvangirai the Alliance agreement provided that the MDCT would nominate the Presidential candidate, subject to the approval of Alliance partners. Chamisa was so nominated and approved.”Welshman Ncube tweeted on the 1st of April 2020
Other commentators argue that Khupe’s leadership of the MDC based on the technicalities of the court victory does not translate to winning the hearts of the electorate, most which are staunch supporters of Nelson Chamisa.
The power struggle in the MDC has even sucked Mnangagwa’sZanu Pf as the kingpin of the MDC power struggles in order to dilute and weaken Chamisa’s rise against the incumbent president of the country as alleged by David Coltart.
On the 31st of March 2020 after the judgement, David Coltartwho is the MDC Treasurer blamed Mnangagwa for infiltration of his party and said that those behind such schemes will be harshly judged by history.
“The only good thing about today’s judgement is that it lays bare once and for all who had infiltrated the #MDC. Their identities are all now known, working as theyare hand in glove with the Mnangagwa regime. History will judge them harshly. #Zimbabwe” Coltart said.
Jonathan Moyo took a dig at the court for their judgment in the matter and accused people like Douglas Mwonzora of betrayal and power mongering.
“It’s unreasonable & absurd in the extreme for a court to find, as the Supreme Court did in the Khupe matter, that the case is water under the bridge & moot; but rule that it will construct a new bridge in the vain hope of recovering the spilled water to give life to a moot cause!
…It is a pity that @DMwonzora sees things in terms of enemies and not in terms of the truth. Mwonzora has been reaching out to #Zanu Pf & the #CIOs to get support for the leadership of the @mdczimbabwe for a long time. He knows I know & have proof because he approached me directly!”Moyo said on Twitter.
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