By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE continued shortage of water in Harare has led to desperate women and girls being preyed upon for sex by some suppliers of water using bowsers.
This was revealed by participants at a Water Dialogue Forum held in Mabvuku Monday.The event was jointly organised by CHRA, Community Water Alliance (CWA) and Women and Law Southern Africa (WLSA).
Women who attended the forum complained about the unfairness in the distribution of water by mobile water bowsers in Mabvuku due to favouritism mostly driven by sextortion.
“The drivers and volunteers of water bowsers are openly asking for sex in order to supply us with water, we refused and are no longer supplying our section with water,” said an angry woman.
“The water situation has not spared even the young women who are giving in to the demands of the volunteer workers distributing water.
“The water distribution has increased vulnerabilities among women as they come as late as 7pm distributing water in Mabvuku.”
Mabvuku Police Victim Friendly Unit representative, Sergeant Dube said to participants to the Forum that, “Any form of violence against women and girls must be reported to the police and we are ready for action”.
Speaking at the same event, Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Chidhakwa called for immediate action on the issue raised.
“We need an urgent meeting with the District Officer because he is in charge of these water suppliers.
“Last time I tried to engage one of the water supplier, but I was told that I was interfering and seeking relevance,” said Chidhakwa.
Councillor Wutaunashe of Ward 46 bemoaned the incapacitation at Harare City Council that has been a barrier to a water project that is set to benefit the Mabvuku-Tafara Constituency.
“The water supply challenges in our area has had serious implications on our people,” he said.
“However, there is a partner who wants to rehabilitate 36 boreholes and sink four more boreholes in Mabvuku –Tafara.
“But city officials have not been forthcoming in writing a report on the needs which is required by the partner and if the papers are not done by Friday this week, the partner will pull out.”
Water Point Committee representatives bemoaned lack of cohesion between the local District Office and the Committees on the governance of public water points.
Ivy Chimedza from WLSA explained that the current legislation was not progressive in protecting women especially when they harm or kill their attacker in self-defence.
CHRA welcomed the partnership by CSOs and residents in coming up with stop gap measures to address the issues affecting water supply in high density.
CHRA called for the immediate removal of the Chemplex Corporation’s monopoly of supplying water treatment chemicals in what has disrupted water supply in the city due to lack of capacity to supply water treatment chemicals.