Zimbabwe: Gweru City Council Proposed Electric Boreholes an Ill Informed Development in the Wake of the Nationwide Electricity Crisis

Gweru Residents Forum (GRF) would want to question the efficacy of the proposed idea by Gweru City Council (GCC) of alleviating the water crisis by installing electric powered boreholes in the city. The idea comes at a point where the Local Authority is struggling to provide portable water for its residents following the depletion of water in Gwenhoro dam. The water crisis has been widespread posing a serious risk of water borne disease such as typhoid and cholera, which in previous years led to loss of lives. Whilst the water crisis currently being experienced in Gweru was foreseen long back and nothing concrete was done by the City managers and the councilors to avert the looming water crisis. Gweru city council recently introduced a water rationing system as a response mechanism of addressing the problem but it has further worsens the crisis as some areas such as Mkoba 14 and 19 seldom receive any water from their taps.

The GRF is saddened by the knee jerk approach to service provision that is currently being implemented by the Makombe and Gwatipedza led council over matters related to public service provision in the once City of Progress. Whilst the GRF appreciates the current drought crisis bedeviling the country, measures should have been put in place to address the depleting water levels at Gwenhoro dam long only to claim that the dam has only 30% water capacity, sufficient enough for only three months. Meanwhile, the relative efficacy of electric boreholes is questionable in the context of a nation battling for electricity as load shedding runs amok. This means that residents will continue to access water in the middle of night and this is posing great risk to the security of women and young girls who are prone to abuse in the wake of the night.

In addition, the Makombe and Gwatipedza led council must ensure maximum consultation of residents and stakeholders over service delivery matters rather than come up with obscene interventions not cognizant of the prevailing socio-economic environment. Upon assuming office the incumbent GCC Mayor His Worship Councilor Josiah Makombe promised residents that his administration will transform the service delivery framework of Gweru. However, the service delivery framework have gradually taken a serious decline in Gweru communities as exhibited by erratic water supplies ,uncollected refuse ,poor road network, two working traffic lights in the Central Business District among a litany of acute service provision challenges. In short, Gweru Residents Forum calls the Gweru city council to:

  • Be proactive and provide the residents with timely, accessible and accurate information as per the law
  • Ring fencing of the water account so as to allow for investment in water services infrastructure
  • Ensure citywide citizen participation in policy formulation and implementation to promote the Asset Based Community-driven Development
  • Develop inclusive mechanisms of addressing challenges hindering efficient service delivery in Gweru City
  • Minimize ad hoc interventions to water challenges, which have long been foreseen by the Water engineering department
  • Minimize bickering in the Engineering services department towards improved service provision.
  • Source: Gweru Residents Forum (GRF)

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