High Court Hears Water Rights Campaigners Petition to Avert Water Crisis

HIGH Court Judge Justice Owen Tagu will on Thursday 3 October 2019 preside over the determination of an urgent chamber application filed by Community Water Alliance Trust (CWAT) seeking an order to compel President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government to urgently act and ensure the provision of water to Harare residents and avert a crisis and potential loss of lives including the outbreak of diseases.

Justice Tagu was initially scheduled to hear the urgent chamber application on Monday 30 September 2019 but he postponed the hearing to Thursday 3 October 2019 at 2:30 PM to enable lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office to seek further instructions from President Mnangagwa, who is cited as the third respondent but was not represented in court.

In the application, which was filed at the High Court on Wednesday 25 September 2019, CWAT represented by Denford Halimani of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, wants President Mnangagwa to declare a state of disaster in the capital to enable resources to be chanelled towards the water crisis in Harare.

CWAT argued that despite the calamity of the water crisis, President Mnangagwa had inexplicably not exercised his powers to declare a state of disaster, which would allow for the intervention of central government and donor support to avert a foreseeable imminent disaster.

Residents in most of Harare’s suburbs have gone for long periods without access to running water after City of Harare announced on Monday 23 September 2019 that it was shutting down Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant citing foreign currency shortages to purchase water treatment chemicals.

CWAT argued that local and central government’s failure to supply safe, clean and potable water constitutes a breach of residents’ rights enshrined in section 77 of the Constitution and indicated that the right to water is necessary for the enjoyment of other human rights such as the right to life, human dignity, health and food.

The water rights campaigners said President Mnangagwa, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Hon. July Moyo, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu and City of Harare should find alternative means to supply safe, clean and potable water to the affected residents of Harare so as to avert a crisis and potential loss of lives and outbreak of diseases.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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