Dry water taps confront MDC Harare anniversary

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By Thandiwe Garusa

THOUSANDS of MDC faithful from all over the country will this Saturday finally converge in Harare for the party’s 20th anniversary celebrations with a crippling water crisis set to be a painful reminder of the main opposition’s own shortfalls in managing urban authorities it has monopolised for nearly two decades.

Things came to a head early this week when authorities at Town House took a drastic decision to shut down the city’s main water treatment plant at Morton Jaffray, plunging nearly two million residents into crisis.

The shutdown was triggered by the shortage of water purification chemicals.

This ignited the blame game again, with the party blaming the Zanu PF led central government for the rot while government blamed MDC which has an overwhelming dominance on the Harare city council.

While authorities at Town House say water supplies have been restored, a lot of areas remain without the necessity.

Meanwhile, besides the water crisis that would likely see delegates turn to other sources of the necessity in places where they will camp, MDC secretary general Charlton Hwende said Wednesday that his party was ready for the bash which is going to be staged at Rufaro Stadium.

“We have mobilised all our members throughout the country. All our supporters are ready, the logistics are in place as you can see,” said Hwende, who was leading a group of party officials to Rufaro Stadium into touring the venue.

Hwende said they were expecting thousands of people to converge for the party’s anniversary, among them, dignitaries from abroad.

“We are celebrating 20 years of growth, courage, resilience and people’s victories, the journey we have walked through,” he said.

“We are expecting all our provinces, we have invited a number of our friends from the region and a delegation from Namibia and some friends from South Africa and Zambia.”

The MDC top official said the cash strapped party had no financial challenges at the moment that could stop its celebrations.

“This (Rufaro) is a 45 000 capacity stadium and we are expecting 50 000.  We have made arrangements for outside screens for the overflow because we are expecting a lot of Zimbabweans to come celebrate with us,” he said.

“The MDC is funded by its own members who understand the significance of 20 years of existence and our provinces have contributed to the success of this programme.

“So as far as we are concerned, we have no financial challenge for the celebrations.”

The MDC was earlier this month forced to postpone its celebrations which were set for 14 September to allow time for its supporters and ordinary Zimbabweans to mourn late founding State leader Robert Mugabe who died 6 September and is yet to be buried.