Suppliers of water through water bowsers have been accused of preying on desperate women and girls fetching water by soliciting for sexual favors in return for water. This emerged at a Water Dialogue Forum held in Mabvuku today which was jointly organized by Combined Harare Residents Association, Community Water Alliance, and Women and Law Southern Africa.
“The drivers and volunteers of water bowsers are openly ask for sex in order to supply us with water, we refused and are no longer supplying our section with water,” said an angry woman.
Women who attended the forum lamented that there has been unfairness in the distribution of water by mobile water bowsers in Mabvuku due to favoritism mainly anchored on sextortion and selling of the water to desperate water seekers.
The water situation has not spared even the young women who are succumbing 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.
The Mabvuku Police Victim Friendly Unit representative, Sergeant Dube, told 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 forum the Member of Parliament for Mabvuku-Tafara constituency, Honorable James Chidhakwa, called on for immediate action on the issue.
“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.
Councilor 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. 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 that are required by the partner. If the papers are not done by Friday this week, the partner will pull out,” explained Councilor Wutaunashe.
Water Point Committee representatives bemoan lack of cohesion between the local District Office and the Committees on the governance of public water points.
Participants to the meeting highlighted that the conditions created by the unavailability of water have exposed women to sexual and physical violence and that the Tafara women who “killed” a man who attacked her is not guilty of any offence.
Ms. Ivy Chimedza from WLSA explained that the current legislation was not progressive in protecting women especially when they harm or kill their attacker for self-defense.
The Combined Harare Residents welcomed the partnership by CSOs and residents on coming up with stop gap measures to address the issues affecting water supply in Mabvuku.
CHRA calls on for the immediate removal of the Chemplex Corporation’s monopoly of supplying water treatment chemicals to the City of Harare that has disrupted water supply in the City due to lack of capacity to supply water treatment chemicals to the City .
Source: Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)