BULAWAYO’s water crisis has been turned into a convenient campaign avenue with Zanu PF and the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) accusing each other of capitalising on the situation to win the hearts of voters.
Consumers are going for days without the precious liquid.
Town clerk Christopher Dube on Wednesday said crippling electricity outages had worsened the crisis because the local authority was no longer able to pump enough water to consumers during the 18-hour power cuts.
CCC Bulawayo spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza accused aspiring Zanu PF candidates of using water as a campaign tool.
“People have not received water for four weeks and we blame sections of the Bulawayo City Council (BCC)’s engineering department, some councillors and Zesa Holdings for conniving with Zanu PF to create an artificial crisis and purport to be bringing solutions such as browser water to the residents,” Chirowodza said.
“Section 77, subsection A of the Constitution says every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water.”
Zanu PF Bulawayo spokesperson Archibold Chiponda, however, accused the CCC of the same sins.
“CCC’s own failure to successfully govern the city has left them wholly paranoid and scared of their failure such that they are formulating imaginary enemies as scapegoats,” Chiponda said.
“We can’t allow people to suffer because of BCC incompetence. It dovetails with our efforts to deliver water in bowsers around the city, and we don’t believe citizens should suffer because of their incompetence.”
In a statement, BCC town clerk told residents and stakeholders that the city is currently receiving power supply for only eight to 10 hours resulting in council pumping only 40 to 50 megalitres of water against a daily demand of 120.
Dube said the most affected were high-placed suburbs.
He said the city was being forced to hire water bowsers to deliver water to such high-density areas as Nkulumane, Emganwini, Pumula, Magwegwe and Entumbane.
Bulawayo has faced perennial water problems for decades during which both residents and the city fathers have pinned their hopes on an ambitious project to draw water from the Zambezi River.