Opposition Zapu has hit out at the government for failing to intervene in a Bulawayo dysentery outbreak that claimed 13 lives and caused the illness of 1 500 mostly residents of Luveve high density suburb.
The city early this year imposed a 144-hour weekly water-shedding programme as part of measures to conserve its dwindling water supplies.
Subsequent deaths and illnesses linked to typhoid and dysentery have been blamed on the water-shedding programme.
But as the city battled the crisis, government has come under fire for failing to render support during the tough period.
Said Zapu president Isaac Mabuka in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, "It is pathetic for central government to pretend that this (health crisis) can be left to local authorities alone.
"We are however not surprised because of the calibre of the people who hold positions of responsibility in government.
"These are the people who cherish starving the people, then rush to feed them just before an election to get their votes.
"If this outbreak had been just before an election, the people of Luveve would get all the support from Zanu PF and government."
Mabuka said it was every government official's duty to provide safe and clean water to citizens.
"Whatever water is available, it must be safe," he said.
"It is the duty of every government to preserve the sanctity of life but as Zimbabweans, we helplessly watch as regime preservation takes precedence over everything."
Mabuka also criticised city fathers for failing to render material support to bereaved families.
On Monday, the city fathers led by Mayor Solomon Mguni visited the bereaved and offered their condolences.
"The City Fathers cannot continue denying that it is their own water that is killing the people of Luveve, hence the blood of these people who are perishing is in the hands of the councillors.
"It is high time they give material support to the bereaved families. They cannot shed crocodile tears before these people as they attend the funerals to give valueless speeches. It is high time they give material support to the bereaved families," he said.