PRE-PAID water meters have always been unpopular with Harare’s residents, however the decision to install prepaid water meters has been done without consulting residents.
Citizenry participation is very important given that the council is a board which represents the residents and decisions should come from residents then they are tabled before the council for consideration before being implemented. Therefore by the continued installation of prepaid water meters the City Council shows no concern for the citizens.
Prepaid water meters are not favourable to residents because of a lot of reasons but to mention only but a few, the way Harare Water is supplying residents with water is no right. Some residents in areas like Mabelreign Sentosa have spent years without water and nothing is being done to rectify the problem.
Therefore this shows that the decision to install prepaid water meters is not reasonable. The question then is how the city council can want to install meters when there are some areas that do not receive water at all.
Another point to note is that, there are a lot of water shutdowns that are taking place to the extent that most residents only get water at night eg in Glen View, Mufakose, Budiriro and Glen Norah where they get water at midnight, when most residents would be asleep.
Hence the question now is how residents can favour prepaid water meters when they already have a burden of waking up at midnight to fetch water from the tap.
Also will these prepaid water meters increase the availability of water when they are installed? All what residents want to see is water coming out of their taps not forcing them to install prepaid water meters that will not benefit them.
As part of the Harare Residents Trust, our view is that water is a basic need and everyone has the right to get it.
According to Charter 4, Section 77 of the Constitution, every person has the right to safe, clean and portable water. Therefore residents are being deprived of their rights .
Also by installing prepaid water meters its privatising water indirectly. Hence a number of residents will not be able to have access to municipal water. Therefore prepaid water meters are not favourable to the residents’ standards of living.
The HRT want a way forward to ensure that prepaid water meters should not be installed.
A petition with thousands of signatures was presented to then Acting Mayor, Mr. Christopher Mbanga at Town House. The Council must be more democratic and open its doors to fully and genuinely engage the citizens when they have genuine grievances. – by Hope Chikukwa
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s opinion and donot anyway reflect or express www.zimsinsa.com’s editorial policy.