PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday warned his deputy Arthur Mutambara that he risks treason charges for referring to him as "Commander-In-Chief".
Mutambara had also referred to the PM as "co-ordinator in chief" at a function to launch a water conservation programme in Harare's Budiriro suburb.
PM Tsvangirai said there was only one Commander-In-Chief in Zimbabwe, who is President Mugabe.
"There is only one Commander-In-Chief in terms of the law in Zimbabwe - His Excellency President Robert Mugabe," he said. "You risk being charged of treason."
PM Tsvangirai said it was not proper for DPM Mutambara to transfer President Mugabe's title to him.
The audience was left in stitches when PM Tsvangirai said DPM Mutambara has a tendency to dramatise issues.
This was after DPM Mutambara showered him with praises by referring to him as Policy Co-ordinator-In-Chief and Commander-In-Chief.
Introducing the PM to the audience, DPM Mutambara said the three things that ensured development were the initiation and formulation of policies which "talk to each other".
He said Government policies like the national housing policy must link with the national water policy.
The third stage, he said, was to ensure the implementation of the policies and their supervision.
That is when he referred to PM Tsvangirai as the Commander-In-Chief and Policy Co-ordinator-In-Chief.
PM Tsvangirai urged residents to depoliticise issues of service delivery like water conservation and zero litter campaign.
"This campaign is not political. It has nothing to do with political parties," he said.
He said councils should provide adequate water and clean environment to ensure the 2008-2009 cholera outbreak is not repeated, referring to the disease as a "stone age" ailment.
He said because 50 percent of the population was now staying in urban centres, it was important to improve water and waste management to conform to the increased demands.
PM Tsvangirai discouraged residents from dumping solid waste like clothes and kitchen utensils into the sewer system. These, he said, blocked the sewers leading to pipe bursts.
Mr Tsvangirai said he was disheartened during his recent visit to the Firle Sewer Plant where he was told that at times city workers retrieve dumped babies and dog carcasses at the sewer inlet chambers.
"I am asking our mothers to be responsible and to stop using sand to wash pots in kitchen sinks," he said.
He proposed that local authorities should be empowered to arrest and fine companies that pollute the environment.
He said some of the pollution (toxic waste) was the cause of diseases like cancer.
He cited Zimphos as one of the major polluters in Harare.
PM Tsvangirai said Government is this year drilling 7 500 boreholes in five provinces as part of efforts to ensure equitable distribution of water. He also urged people practising peri-urban farming to do so in a manner that does not harm the environment and the water system.
As part of the campaign to conserve water, the city is encouraging families to use up to two-and-half 200-litre drums of water per day which translates to 500 litres per day and 15 cubic metres per month.
Harare is failing to meet demand for water because it can only supply 620 million litres against a demand of 1 200 million litres.
Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the aim of the campaign was to reduce wastage of water from industrial and residential properties.
"We want to ensure that those households that receive a constant supply of water reduce their usage from the current average of 1 000 litres per day per household to less than 500 litres per day," he said.
"We also aim to inculcate a culture of pride in striving to live in a clean environment which will promote good health."
Acting Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Joseph Made blamed water shortages on obsolete water and sewer infrastructure which he said needs replacement.
He said residents were also unable to pay for services, making reinvestment into the sector difficult.
Water Resources Development and Management Minister Sipepa Nkomo said reluctance by councils to ring fence water and sanitation accounts has added to poor investment in the sector.
Government has directed that water and sewer accounts should be ring-fenced to allow for the reinvestment of the proceeds into water and sewer management.
Musician Derrick Mpofu of the "Chisikana Changu Zimbabwe" fame was named the Water Conservation and Zero Litter Campaign ambassador.
The launch was attended by Cabinet ministers, mayors and councillors from across Zimbabwe, council officials, water and waste experts.