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Dete residents threaten to protest over water cuts

Tinashe Mungazi

Dete residents are mulling staging a demonstration against Zimbabwe Water Water Authority (ZINWA) after going for a week without water.

The peri-urban area which is under Hwange Rural District Council has a long history of water and electricity challenges. The water shortage is now threatening the closure of schools and a clinic as the facilities require water to function especially in the face of Covid-19.

Residents told CITE that they have gone without water for over a week after ZINWA failed to supply the precious commodity.

“We have gone for over a week without water and this is seriously affected us. The situation is exposing us to a potential outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera. People are walking long distances to access water from a church that has a solar pump while open defecation is now the norm. The issue of water is not new to us we are faced with perennial shortages for years and this has been worsened by power outages. Hence we are mulling tasking Zinwa to task over the issue by demonstrating,” said Jacob Mathe, a local resident.

Another resident who refused to be named said schools were sending children back home early with a likelihood that lessons might be temporarily suspended to avoid the outbreak of diseases.

“The situation has also affected our schools which are Dete secondary, St Francis Xavier and Sir Roy Welensky primary. As of Monday learners were dismissing early as a way to avoid outbreaks of cholera or typhoid. As you are aware schools need water for hygienic purposes and also handwashing which is part of Covid-19 regulations. We appeal to  authorities to act before things get out of hand.”

Residents have been relying on getting water from nearby companies and lodges that use solar-powered boreholes.

Dete ward councillor, Stanley Torima confirmed that the residents were planning on demonstrating against Zinwa to compel them to restore water supplies.

“Yes, I can confirm that residents are planning to protest against the water situation in Dete which has now gone for over a week. Taps have run dry and with this kind of weather, it’s now very difficult to survive hence the residents are bitter and want to take Zinwa to task. My community is in a serious water crisis. Schools in the area are likely to come to a standstill. Zinwa is failing and Zesa is also another major letdown on the supply of water in Dete. Power is always an On/Off situation. Dete is dry no boreholes nothing. Apart from Schools being affected local clinics are also not spared, people’s lives is at great risk. The authority has been engaged but nothing has been done to address the problem, ” said Clr Torima.

He said there was need for the business community to assist the community in alleviating the problems of water and electricity.

“We appeal to the business owners and stakeholders to assist the Dete community in finding a permanent solution to this crisis. We also appeal for government intervention, Dete has been abandoned for a long time be it food, water, power and even the general infrastructure like roads and even the houses up to now are made of pole and dagga.”

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