Lawyers demand right to clean water

HARARE - Government must take urgent measures to ensure that people access adequate and clean water, which is now a constitutional right enshrined in the new charter, a rights organisation has said.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said investigations must be made into culpability for failure to supply clean water and those responsible must be held accountable for violating the new Constitution.

This comes after a landmark ruling by High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, outlawing all water disconnections.

Bhunu described Section 8 of the water by-law under statutory instrument (SI) 164 of 1913 which gives local authorities the power to disconnect defaulting residents, as illegal as it was ultra vires the new Constitution.

The section was being used by municipalities in disconnecting water without seeking recourse to the courts, but is now in breach of Section 77 of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, which classifies clean water and food as basic rights.

“Government must, after comprehensive consultation with all stakeholders, adopt and implement a sustainable strategy that includes a clear plan for provision of clean water to all communities and regular monitoring and evaluation of progress and challenges,” ZLHR said in a statement.

There are countrywide reports that local authorities and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) are providing residents with contaminated water.

Recently, residents in Zimunya sent a petition to Zinwa demanding clean water, while blaming the authority for causing illness and deaths in the area due to dirty drinking water.


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