Water crisis as Zimbabweans cry foul over State’s million dollar trips


Water crisis as Zimbabweans cry foul over State's million dollar trips
Residents fetch water from a borehole in Mabvuku, a highly-populated suburb in Harare, Zimbabwe, September 3, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

Zimbabwean leaders are in the soup following reports that the capital city Harare no longer has water.

Lobby groups have over the years accused the government of prioritizing foreign trips and luxury vehicles for senior officials.

This amidst the suffering of over 1.4million Zimbabweans living in Harare.

“The tap water we have sometimes if you fill it in a container, you can see dirty stuff, so people are always complaining of stomach bugs… Boreholes are few, plus there are long queues,” said Grace Kufakunesu, a 38-year-old mother of three.

On September 11, a Zimbabwean newspaper reported that Hamstrung Harare City Council had spent $1.2 million (Ksh.124.6million) on hotel expenses, traveling and out of pocket allowances.

According to The Herald, an additional $432, 000 (Ksh. 44.8million) already approved for forthcoming trips.

“The overall expenditure for the local and foreign trips stands at $1 653 720,20 for the period July to September,” the report reads.

Michael Chideme, City of Harare spokesman, told VOA on Monday that residents are forced to rely on open and untreated water sources after the main plant was closed due to lack of funds for treatment chemicals.

According to him, the capital city stopped purifying water because it was struggling to import water treatment chemicals.

“Our budget for water is now exhausted…We have approached [the] government to appraise [the] government of the need to support the water sector, to declare it an emergency so that funding partners can also come onboard and assist the city in the long-term projects,” Chideme said.

He told Reuters that the required at least 40 million Zimbabwe dollars ($2.7 million) for the chemicals.

In 2008, lack of water treatment chemicals resulted in about 5,000 deaths from cholera.

It was only after the intervention of U.N. agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the European Union that the disease was contained.

Now with the closure of the water plant in Harare, residents now fear a repeat occurrence.

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