President Morgan Tsvangirai today castigated politicians who bring in ill-informed political opinions into the operations of public institutions saying this has had a disastrous effect in the lives of the ordinary people.
He said this after touring a multi-million dollar rehabilitation programme being carried out by the Harare City Council at the Firle Sewage Treatment Plant and Ingwe Farm in Harare.
"Zinwa (the Zimbabwe National Water Authority) should not have been allowed to run this place in the first instance. This is where politicians make mistakes when they put politics where it is not supposed to be and you compound the problem," President Tsvangirai said.
In 2003, Zanu PF's Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development dismissed the then MDC-led council and replaced the democratically elected councillors with Zanu PF special interest councillors.
Chombo further took away the operations of water treatment from the Harare City Council to the government-owned Zinwa, which had no technical capacity to carry out the operations, resulting in Harare residents and those from its environs drinking heavily contaminated water.
Chombo's bungling in the operations of the City of Harare and other towns across the country led to a serious outbreak of cholera in 2008, which resulted in the deaths of 4 000 people and over 20 000 being hospitalised.
The situation was only saved by the MDC's involvement in the formation of the inclusive government and returning the operations of treating sewage and water to the Harare City Council.
"We cannot have a city that is accused in this day and age of experiencing cholera and other ancient diseases," President Tsvangirai said in reference to the 2008 cholera outbreak.
He pledged to do all he could in his capacity as the Prime Minister to ensure that the remaining work in rehabilitating the treatment plant was completed before the end of the year.
Concurring with President Tsvangirai on the unnecessary political meddling in the operations of public institutions, Harare Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda said in 2008, before the formation of the inclusive government, Zimbabwe "had literally gone to the dogs".
"When we came into the office the same year the council was kaput," the mayor said.
He, however, said the aim of the council was to make Harare a metropolis of world class by 2025. Mayor Masunda added that the rehabilitation of the sewer plant would go a long way in reducing the water treatment bill for Harare which currently stands between US$1, 5 and US$2 million.
The council also wants to increase its herd of cattle at its farms from 5 000 to 13 000.
"We want an agricultural revolution and it has to start on the doorstep of Harare. We will be creating employment for the people because not everyone wants to be a shareholder in these companies," said Mayor Masunda adding that the advent of the inclusive government had gone a long way in the council's operations as it was able to get loans to fund its operations.
The Firle Sewage Plant, with 250 workers is now managed under the Harare Water Department with a capacity of receiving 144 mega litres a day. It is located some 12 kilometres upstream of Lake Chivero along the Mukuvisi River.
Effluent from the plant is either discharged directly into the river from Biological Nutrient Removal Plant or pumped to the council's farms when it is from the Conventional Trickling Filter System. The council has three farms, Pension, Ingwe, and Crowborough with a total of 4 500 hectares and can accommodate 11 000 cattle.
Harare City Council will soon be able to generate electricity from methane gas from the sewer plant with a capacity of 2,5 megawatts able to supply electricity to 4 000 households.
President Tsvangirai had the opportunity to visit, Ingwe Farm which is next to Firle Sewage Treatment Plant.He was accompanied by several senior government officials.
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