EASTERN NEWS | Forex shortages stall Dangamvura water project

MUTARE - Mutare mayor Blessing Tandi has revealed that foreign currency shortages are stalling the completion of a water pipe that could cure Dangamvura’s perennial water woes.

Speaking at the commissioning of refuse compactor trucks, a staff bus, tractor and four utility vehicles at Civic Centre on Tuesday, Tandi said only a two-kilometre stretch requiring high pressure pipes was left for the work to be completed.

He said the money is sitting in their bank but they are praying the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe allocate them foreign currency to put an end to the water problems.

“The money is there in the account but we are hoping to get foreign currency allocation so that we buy the high pressure pipes that are needed to complete the remaining two kilometres,” Tandi said before imploring minister of State for Manicaland Ellen Gwaradzimba to assist in lobbying for it.

The eastern border city’s over 38 000 residents have been getting water on alternate days with some areas going for close to a week without water.

New suburbs being established by private land developers are being forced to provide borehole water to their members if council is to clear the areas for settlement.

Some areas which were being developed by cooperatives like Gimboki and Federation have been forced to rely on sewage-contaminated water sources like shallow wells and streams in areas that is replete with pit toilets, risking outbreaks of communicable diseases like cholera.

Without the foreign currency allocation, residents are expected to endure water rationing for a long time to come.

Council has previously lost more than $300 000 in a botched deal in which it contracted an organisation that lacked capacity to replace the 15mm pipe with a 45mm to meet the sprawling suburb’s demands.

In most cases residents fail to get water frequently with many even going for days without the precious liquid.

The eastern border city is, however, only failing to distribute water within itself as it draws its supplies more than 90 kilometres away from Pungwe River in Nyanga and Osborne Dam in Mutasa.

As if to mock Dangamvura residents, council recently revealed the city was losing more than half of its treated water due to leakages and dysfunctional meters.

The Pungwe Project was commenced in the mid-1990s during the tenure of Lawrence Mudehwe as executive mayor.

It was completed at the turn of the millennium and was valued at $1 billion, the bulk of which came from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

Ironically, even after the water was within the city, it could not on its own distribute the water until again the cholera epidemic triggered donor sympathy which culminated in the completion of the 10 million cubic litre tank with a capacity to supply 60 percent of the city’s over 200 000 residents.

Court to rule on July 30 poll challenge

MUTARE - High Court judge Justice Joseph Mafusire is this month expected to pass judgment on MDC Alliance losing candidate for Mutasa North David Chimhini’s challenge on his electoral loss to Zanu PF’s Chido Mwadiwa by 278 votes in the July 30 election.

The case was heard on merit at Masvingo High Court on November 27 after which he reserved judgment on the day.

Through his lawyer Passmore Nyakureba of Maunga Maanda and Associates, Chimhini, who is also MDC’s provincial chairperson, is alleging that Mwadiwa could have been allocated as much as 800 votes that were not due to her.

“The case was heard on merit on November 27 after which he reserved judgment but we expect him to deliver it any time but in December,” Nyakureba said.

Announced results gave him a total of 11 635 votes against Mwadiwa’s 11 913.

In his written request for a recount in line with Section 67A of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), Chimhini says some of his election agents has gone truant and was yet to give him his V11 copy for one of the wards and he suspects that he may have been compromised by Zanu PF.

He is requesting a recount in eight polling stations across three wards.

Chimhini alleges that Mwadiwa could have been awarded an extra 200 votes from Chisuko A and B while at Sagambe Primary School he says she was gifted a further 60 votes again, contrary to the votes cast while at Chikomba Primary School he suspects that she got an extra 50 — all in Ward 1.

These, he said, were given to her on the V11 form but do not tally with the actual votes counted. He says she may also have been awarded 100 votes at Murara polling station in Ward 5.

At Muuya polling station in Ward 9, Chimhini alleges that she got 80 more votes than were due to her.

In Ward 30, Chimhini claims that his rival got an extra 100, 90 and 120 votes from Muterere, Pimayi and Rumbizi polling stations respectively.

In an earlier letter to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) soon after the election results were announced, Chimhini initially admitted that he did not “specifically know how the miscount could have arisen but I believe that there was a failure in the system or manipulation to warrant a recount of the vote.

“With regard to ward 30 results for Muterere polling station, Pimayi polling station and Rumbizi rest camp polling station, I have not even had sight of my personal copies of the V11 forms which my polling agents, whom I suspect to have been compromised by my rivals, have vanished with.

“I allege that in total, Chido Mwadiwa was awarded a total of 800 votes not due to her.”

MDC Alliance is livid at its huge electoral loss to Zanu PF and is accusing Zec of rigging the elections which triggered violent demonstrations in Harare on August 1.

‘Manicaland avoids doctors’ strike‘

MUTARE - A seinior  health official has explained how Manicaland has managed to avoid disruption to its health care system due to crippling doctors’ strikes by revealing that it has no junior doctors across the entire province.

Manicaland provincial medical director Patron Mafaune told the Eastern News on Tuesday that the on-going strike was mainly being championed by a segment of doctors who were not part of the local establishment.

“We have not yet been affected by the strike because we have no junior doctors in the province,” Mafaune said in explaining how the doctors’ strike had for the second consecutive wave of strikes had not affected local hospitals.


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