Rights In Action – Weekly Update 05 Feb 2021

WaterPoint Section

Bulawayo Demand Answers from ZINWA

83 residents’ letters were collected on the second week of #MondayWaterAction (01 Feb 2021) and submitted to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), demanding answers on the ZINWA’s performance towards solving the Bulawayo water shortage problems.

Most of the residents’ concerns which they wanted ZINWA to respond on included:

  • The completion of the Gwayi – Shangani Dam
  • Why the Bulawayo supply dams are still below 50% when its raining persistently and other dams nationally are now spilling
  • When is ZINWA constructing additional dams for Bulawayo?;
  • When is ZINWA expanding the Epping Forest boreholes project?;
  • Does ZINWA have the capacity, plans and means of solving the Bulawayo water shortage?

MIHR have since submitted the resident’s questions to ZINWA in the form of a detailed submission paper.

On Thursday 04 February 2021, ZINWA responded to the NewsDay (who followed up on the residents’ submission paper) and revealed that government has allocated them $535 million and they expect the project to be completed by end of 2021.

Week 3: Focus on Bulawayo City Council

On Week 3 of #MondayWaterAction we shall be targeting the Bulawayo City Council through nonviolent water rights accountability.

Environment Village Section

11 Begin February Environmental Rights Activism Class

Eleven residents have begun the February online environmental rights activism class which will run up to April 2021. This makes it 31 the people participating in this Environment Village project (with 20 having began in January 2021).

The January group has been influential in engaging both the BCC and EMA on environmental rights issues. Currently the group members are setting up environmental clubs in their suburbs.

MIHR envisages building on these community environmental activists to build a strong and sustainable environmental rights social movement in Bulawayo.

Non Violent Power Talk

“If you use violence in a system that is violent, they will again use violence against you and they will use violence to thwart any dissenting voice and thwart any meaningful social change agenda, justifying their use of violence by stating that these people were violent.”

Robson Chere (ARTUZ National Secretary General) speaking during the Nonviolent Power Talk

Luveve Residents Bring Contractor to Account

The Luveve Bulawayo Water Action, a MIHR water activism group, has finally managed to get the contractor (a Mr Wang) who was contracted by Bulawayo City Council to fix water mains pipes in the suburb; to visit the suburb and account on infrastructural damaged left by his workers.

On 26 October 2020, the Luveve Water Action group submitted a petition to Councilor F. Msipha which had 1 374 signatures. Among the demands of the petition was that the private contractor who was doing water works in the suburb should come and fix the roads, durawalls and windows that were left damaged in the community.

The group further documented all the damages and managed to get into contact with the contractor who toured the suburb this week and pledged to expedite the fixing problem. Apparently, the water pipes work is continuing and now it should be fixing pipes leading into houses and residents had refused to sign the access consent forms for the company citing their failure to fix damages in previous works.

Source: Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR)

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