Harare residents have threatened to sue Harare City Council for disconnecting water on properties of defaulters.
In an interview with the Daily News, Community Water Alliance programmes manager Hardlife Mudzingwa said that the provision of potable water is a human right. He said:
Our legal argument is based on Sections 44, 46(1) (c) and 86 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 of 2013.
Section 44 compels government at every level to among other obligations, respect the human right to water.
Respecting the human right to water means that where there is a supply of potable water, there must be limited interference in the enjoyment of that right.
Respecting the human right to water is of immediate effect and it is not subjected to the availability of resources.
Disconnecting water is a retrogressive measure and goes against Section 77 requirement of progressive realisation of the human right to water.
Section 46(1)(c) compels Zimbabwe, when interpreting human rights, to take into account international law, treaties and conventions to which Zimbabwe is a party.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
General Comment 15 entitles everyone to available, accessible, sufficient, acceptable and quality potable water.
This threat of a lawsuit comes at a time when water availability in the city can no longer be taken for granted. Residents in some suburbs have gone for weeks without the precious liquid.