Residents urged to fight for water rights

A Bulawayo based human rights activist has urged residents to be aggressive when advocating for their water rights and hold responsible authorities to account.

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) Coordinator Khumbulani Maphosa made these remarks while addressing residents during a Water and Climate Change workshop which was held under the #ClaimYourWaterRights campaign, Monday.

The workshop was hosted by MIHR and National Association of Youth Organizations (NAYO) for Bulawayo, Umguza, Harare and Chitungwiza residents.

It was aimed at empowering local communities and activists to actively and nonviolently claim their water rights whilst demanding urgent climate action.

Maphosa noted that residents need to come up with strategies that will enable them to arm-twist responsible authorities into addressing the issue of water challenges in various communities.

“When you have your local community meetings, do not buy your local MPs or Councillors bottled water. Instead, give them that same water you drink so that they appreciate the water challenges that you are facing and take your water rights concerns seriously. Make sure this water is served in a clean transparent glass so that they do not blame the containers for contamination” he said.

“We need to be aggressive about these issues. If we sit back no one will come and deliver services to us. The responsible authorities, ZINWA, government and local authorities need to be interrogated until they deliver the services they owe to the people.”

Maphosa highlighted that when political candidates campaign for votes, they promise the electorate various services but when the time comes to deliver they do not honour.

“Hold candidates to account when they come to campaign. Tell them to prove that they can deliver such important services as clean, safe and accessible water. It is the responsibility of duty bearers to ascertain that people have water at all times. Do not be apologetic for demanding your rights,” he said.

NAYO Programmes Manager, McDonald Munyoro, challenged residents and activists to document water rights concerns in their communities and utilise such social accountability tools as the AAAQ (Accessibility, Availability, Acceptability and Quality) Framework to make their water rights cases.

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