By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
POLITICAL bickering has reared its ugly head among Chinhoyi Town councillors, and have blocked a donation of two boreholes to curb serious water shortages in Wards 1 and 10.
The boreholes had been donated to MDC Alliance ward 1 councillor, Good Sairos, and Ishmael Madyavanhu of ward 2 by a non-profit organisation that wanted the water points drilled at the councillors’ residences.
However, the MDC Alliance pair had already counter-donated them to their respective communities to benefit everyone.
According to recent full council meeting minutes, Zanu PF councillor Innocent Mangwanya raised objections on why the unnamed benefactor had extended its philanthropy to individuals and not the council, insisting it was the local authority’s mandate to provide water to its residents, not NGOs.
An MDC Alliance councillor Eria Haisa, also shot down the kind gesture arguing the donation should go through ‘normal’ channels while the municipality should retain the prerogative to identify suitable sites.
Spirited efforts by the deputy mayor, Mercy Mada in defending the donations also received equal resistance by MDC Alliance’s alderman Blackmore Nyangairo.
The local council minutes read: “Councillor Nyangairo pointed out that the councillors wanted the boreholes to be drilled where they would be accessed by the community, which was a noble idea.
“He further pointed out that when someone wants to donate something they should write to council and then council would identify the area to drill the boreholes. If the boreholes were going to benefit the community, the donation should come through council and follow proper procedures.”
Zanu PF’s councillor Voster Mashevedzanwa (ward 11) reiterated the need to engage the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) first if sinking boreholes.
Mashevedzanwa also noted the local council’s engineering department certified sites where water points were to be installed to curb vandalism of underground pipes. However, the councillor cautioned against using the sinking of boreholes for political expediency.
“If the councillors want to donate, they should approach council who then identify the needy areas. Civic leaders should represent the whole of Chinhoyi and not only their wards,” he said.
The council meeting also resolved to block the donation to Mzari and Orange Grove suburbs, which also experience perennial water shortages.
Contacted for comment by NewZimbabwe.com, councillors Sairos and Madyavanhu expressed anger over the move.
“The donor had come to us in our individual capacities to help our respective communities. We told the donor, who wants to remain anonymous, that we wanted the boreholes drilled at neutral points for every resident to access water. Blocking the donation on political grounds was misdirected,” said Sairos.
On his part, Madyavanhu added: “If we go at this rate stalling development projects which benefit residents, then we are doomed. People in these two wards suffer unending water problems which were going to be eased by the sinking of the boreholes, regardless of who brought them and where they would be sited.”