Chinhoyi Residents Threaten Protests Over Water Crisis

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

RESIDENTS have put Chinhoyi Municipality management and councillors on notice of a protest over inequitable water distribution that has seen some suburbs go for several days without the precious liquid.

The militant Chinhoyi Residents Association (CRA) chairman, Clifford Hlupeko told at the weekend, the local authority had 72 hours to respond to demands to improve service delivery, particularly on water provision.

“We are annoyed, disgusted and we want to register our displeasure to council. We have written a letter of demand which they must respond to within the set timelines or else we will smoke them out of their comfort zones,” said Hlupeko.

The ultimatum lapses Tuesday.

In a letter of demand, Hlupeko said erratic water supplies had mostly affected residents of Mzari low density, and Ruvimbo in the high-density areas.

Hlupeko wrote, “CRA expresses its biggest displeasure in terms of the erratic water supply that is happening in most suburbs, especially Mzari Extension and Ruvimbo and other places where all of a sudden you began to ration water for just a day in a week without valid reasons.”

“This is clearly absurd. We will not fold our hands and allow you to trample on our constitutional rights. We are putting you on a serious notice of a massive demonstration if this situation is unresolved immediately.”

He added: “We want water or you have to resign if you are unable to provide water. We are taking this anger to your doorstep. We give you 72 hours to come out of your cocoon or we will smoke you out of those holes. This is uncalled for.”

When contacted for comment, Chinhoyi mayor Garikai Dendera confirmed receipt of CRA’s letter of demand.

“I can confirm having received the letter today (Monday). We have resolved to task out public relations department to handle the matter so that we avert an impasse. The residents must come to the negotiating table and highlight service delivery challenges. But, regards this particular concern, water has always been a problem in Chinhoyi where some areas would have perennial supply while others would barely get water,” said the mayor.

The rancour, Dendera said, could be emanating from residents who were accustomed to getting daily water supplies, but were now being rationed.

Water shedding was recently introduced in Chinhoyi to ensure equitable distribution of the commodity, the local authority has argued.