President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s promise to assist Bulawayo City Council to resolve the city’s acute water crisis has been described by residents and human rights activists as a political gimmick.
They argued that had Mnangagwa been sincere, the Zambezi water project would have been long finalised since he has been in government since 1980. Human rights activist Effie Ncube said on Monday:
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The water situation in Bulawayo is dire and there is a direct link between a shortage of water in Bulawayo and the government system in Zimbabwe. The major cause of water shortages in Bulawayo is the national government itself. It has not invested in water and stifled the ability of local authorities to operate and harvest water.
Ibhetshu lika Zulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo does not expect a government “that has a problem with human rights violations” to address Bulawayo’s water problems.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said the water challenges bedevilling the City of Kings and Queens require a permanent solution rather than politicking. He said:
The Bulawayo water crisis needs a permanent solution, not firefighting because people are suffering out there and if we continue the firefighting again we will face the same problem next year. We will monitor closely to see that the government provides what they promised.
Mnangagwa on Saturday met Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni and councillors and promised that the government would soon step in and assist the local authority deal with the water crisis.