Zimbabwe: Harare's Water Woes, Government Responsible - Says MDC-T

HARARE perennial water problems should be resolved by central government through adequate allocation of foreign currency, the opposition MDC-T party has said.

Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni was recently forced to make a State of the City address on December 27 last year after disgusting images and videos of dirty water circulated on social media leaving residents seething with anger.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya then immediately announced that the city would get foreign currency to procure water treatment chemicals.

However, in a statement this week, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said the city council should not be blamed for poor water provision.

"The biggest challenge that the urban authority has been facing is the debilitating shortage of foreign currency to import the necessary water treatment chemicals," he said.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has the sole responsibility of prioritizing and allocating foreign currency to all the sectors of the country's economy.

"As such, it is beyond the mandate of the city authorities to decide how much foreign currency should be allocated for the importation of the necessary water treatment chemicals."

Since the devastating 2008 cholera outbreak which claimed over 4,000 lives, Harare has been struggling with recurrent waterborne diseases and the MDC-T said urgent action is needed to avoid this becoming perennial.

"We don't want a situation whereby the residents of the city of Harare will be susceptible to acquiring water - borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid as a result of failure to access clean and safe water for their daily usage," said Gutu.

"The RBZ should appreciate that the provision of clean and safe water is just as critical as the provision of foreign currency to import fuel and other essential commodities into the country."

He added; "Central government shouldn't allow a situation whereby the day to day management of the affairs of the capital city are sabotaged by corrupt and ill - intentioned bureaucrats who seem not to have any respect whatsoever for elected city councillors.

"The MDC shall continue to conscientize all its elected councillors and other officials on the paramount importance of discharging their duties diligently and also with honour and integrity."

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