By Mary Taruvinga
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Sunday came face to face with the water challenges faced by ordinary Zimbabweans during his tour of Harare’s residential areas to assess the impact of a 21-day national lockdown he imposed to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Mnangagwa toured Harare’s Mabvuku, Tafara, Kuwadzana, Mufakose, Budiriro, Glenview as well as Zengeza in Chitungwiza.
According to Information ministry permanent secretary, Nick Mangwana who was in Mnangagwa’s entourage, the President noted with concern the challenges faced by citizens in accessing portable water.
During the visit, Mnangagwa witnessed long winding queues at community boreholes with some of the suburbs having never received any tap water in the last 20 years.
Many Zimbabweans have found it difficult to abide by government’s lockdown order as they frequently have to leave their homes to hunt for the necessity.
While fetching water, they often find themselves violating the social distancing requirement and exposing themselves to the possibility of contracting the disease through coming into contact with boreholes that would have been touched by many.
Said Mangwana, “It became clearer that the water situation in our cities and towns need urgent attention.”
Recently, Harare residents successfully petitioned the government and city council to takes steps aimed at making sure residents were supplied with water during the lockdown period and beyond.
The High Court directed the local authority and government to ensure residents got clean water.
So far, Zimbabwe has nine confirmed coronavirus cases and one related death.
Said Mangwana, “This allowed the President to meet the society in its spontaneous, unorganised form in order to gauge what really goes on behind protestations of compliance (with the lockdown).
“Happily, Zimbabweans did not disappoint.
“Even on communal water points, joint ZRP and municipality manned and organised communities for order and social distancing.”
Mangwana said the level of awareness was impressive even when residents found themselves having to queue for water.