Home » Governance » Harare Residents Storm Council Over Water Meters

HARARE residents stormed Town house during a full council meeting on Thursday and staged a protest challenging the installation of prepaid water metering in the capital.

The demonstration follows a statement by town clerk, Tendai Mahachi, confirming that council would soon roll out the programme.

Mahachi vowed to press ahead with the plan despite spirited resistance from residents and human rights campaigners.

On Thursday, city councillors were divided after protesting residents dropped fliers from the public gallery expressing concern over the development.

Some councillors supported protestors while others expressed outrage over the invasion of council chambers.

After the council meeting, Combined Harare Residents Trust chair person, Simbarashe Moyo, told journalists that residents had lost faith in elected council officials.

“Our first concern is that the issue of water privatization contradicts provisions of the new constitution and now the country is experiencing harsh economic hardship,” said Moyo.

“Everyone has been turned into a vendor by the economic situation and it is very clear that many people will not afford to pay for water. What will they do?

“Let’s first address the challenge of water unavailability which most of the city suburbs are experiencing before we reach that decision.

“What’s the point of bringing prepaid water meters to Mabvuku which has not had water for the past seven years?”

Council officials have also issued conflicting statements over the development with mayor Bernard Manyenyeni apparently contradicting his town clerk.

Manyenyeni recently told Harare residents associations that the local authority has not yet reached the point of installation but was still deliberating over the issue.

“We are not saying that we are going to install prepaid water meters now but we are saying the discussion has opened,” he said.

“This is time to discuss where we are now and the procedures we will take if we are to install the meters.

“Our question, as the city council, is that we want to know if you are saying water should be for free or be paid for if paid for, how are we going to do it effectively?”

The mayor said council would roll out trials in a number of suburbs randomly selected to test the effectiveness of the project.

Source : New Zimbabwe