Water shortage haunts Gokwe Kabuyuni villagers

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By Siya Ncube

Gokwe Kabuyuni residents have been hit by severe water challenges, few weeks before the commencement of the rain season.

Located in the Midlands province, Gokwe Kabuyuni is located 120km away from Gokwe town.

Gokwe Kabuyuni perennially experience drinking water challenges regardless of the fact that the place often receive heavy rainfalls during the season.

Water challenges are a result of the fact that there are no big dams or other reliable water sources in the area.

“We have tried on a number of occasions to build dams but these have been wrecked by heavy rains which we often receive in the area.

“The problem is that we have not been able to find partners to inject money into water harvesting projects in this area. Our member of parliament Honourable Leonard Chikomba has not given us the kind of support we anticipate on the project,” said Shadreck Makombe a resident in the area.

Efforts to get a comment from the legislator Mr Chikomba, were fruitless as he was reportedly engaged in other commitments in Harare by the time of publishing this story.

Gokwe Kabuyuni legislator ,Leonard Chikomba

Some of the villagers blamed Honourable Chikomba for neglecting them.

“Imagine in 2020 Mr Chikomba brought an excavator and constructed a dam in his premises, but ignored the plight of the community. The mere construction of that water source is an indication that he is wake to the water challenges in his area but he decided to  be self-centred”, said one of the villagers.

Leonard Chikomba was first elected MP for Gokwe Kabuyuni in 2005 on a ZANU PF ticket.

In 2013 Chikomba reclaimed Gokwe Kabuyuni constituency, and went on to retain it in 2018.

However, his chances of winning in 2023 are slim due to growing discontent in the area.

“We cannot vote for a man who has continuously neglected us. This area is perennially hit by water challenges but the MP has done nothing to help us,” said a bitter villager.

Currently, the demand for water has increased in schools due to WHO protocols aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19. However, getting this water is a challenge.

“Schools require water so that pupils can always wash their hands, but this water is scarce”, said a teacher at Zhomba primary school.

The unavailability of water has also put the girlchild at risk. They travel several kilometres searching for water and at times spend nights queueing at community open wells.

“Some of the ladies have ended up being impregnated by unethical men who capitalise on such ladies. In addition young girls miss important study time due the expanded domestic duties including looking for water in distant places,” said a concerned parent.

Livestock and human life are struggling for the precious drop of life.

Some of the villagers travel for up to 15 kilometres to fetch water using ox-drawn scotch carts.

“At times we travel 25 kilometres to Sengwa coal mine. Our cattle drink water from coal pit which is not safe” said another villager from Chitekete area.

Apart from tsetse-fly caused diseases, cattle in Gokwe often suffer from diseases such as heart water, red water, among others.

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