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100 Years of a Pipe Dream- Matabeleland Water Projects and Water Politics in Zimbabwe

100 Years of a Pipe Dream- Matabeleland Water Projects and Water Politics in Zimbabwe

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Published by sbalii65
An analysis of the water situation in Zimbabwe and the failure of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project to take off
An analysis of the water situation in Zimbabwe and the failure of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project to take off

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Published by: sbalii65 on Mar 03, 2012
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100YEARSOFAPIPEDREAM-MATABELELANDZAMBEZIWATERPROJECTANDWATERPOLITICSINZIMBABWEBYANGLISTONETSIBANDAEXECUTIVEDIRECTOR-SHALOMPROJECT,THENATIONALASSOCIATIONOFNGOS(NANGO),WESTERNREGIONBOARDSECRETARYANDLECTURER-DEVELOPMENTSTUDIES(CENTERFORDEVELOPMENTSTUDIES)EMAIL:thembanisibanda@yahoo.comMobile:+263775183243BACKGROUND:TheMatabelelandwaterprojectideaturns100yearsthisyear,2012andCivilSocietyorganizationinMatabelelandhavefounditfittocommemoratethe100yearsofanideathatisviewedasapanaceatoperennialwaterproblemsfacedbythecommunitiesintheregion.Matabelelandliesinclimaticregion4and5thatreceivelittleannualrainfallandissusceptibletodroughtsthatcontinuetohaveahugeimpactonlivesandlivelihoodsintheregion.In2011Zimbabwe’ssecondlargestcity,Bulawayowhichusedtobethecountry’sindustrialhubsawtheclosureofatleast87majorcompaniesthatleftanestimated20000pluspeoplejoblesswithinthebroadernationalcontextofapoliticalcrisesthathavehadahugeimpactontheeconomyresultinginanunemploymentratethatisestimatedtobeashighas80%.OneofmajorcausesforthedeindustrializationofBulawayohasbeenthelackofviabilityproblemsandBulawayo’swaterscarcityhasbeenpartlyhighlightedandoneofthecausesforlackofviabilityasthecityfailstoattractmoreinvestors.Matabelelandwaterprojecthasbeenanideathatwasfirstmootedin1912;thesameyeartheANCwasformedinBloemfontein,SouthAfricahasremainedapipedreamtodatewithsuccessivegovernmentsfailingtotakesufficientactionthatwouldseetheprojecttakeoff.Theproject’sfailuretotakeoffhasbeenattributedmainlytolackofpoliticalwillbysuccessivegovernmentsduetohistoricalissuesandattitudesoneofthembeingthatofthesuccessivegovernments’legitimacychallengesinMatabelelandhencethemoveto“disciplinethedissidentcity”1.1DissipliningadissidentCity-MuchapararaMusemwa-DeptofHistoryUniversityofSouthAfrica-paper.WhilethepopulationofBulawayohascontinuedtogrow,theZimbabwegovernmentwhoseresponsibilityitistoprovidewatertoitscitizenshasfailedtocomeupwithinterventions.ThelastsupplydamforBulawayowasbuiltin1975,backthenthegovernmentstrategywastoconstructadamforthecityinevery10yearsbutsinceindependencenodamwasbuiltforBulawayoandtheMtshabezidamwasinitiallybuilttosupplyMatabelelandSouth’Gwandatown.Withinthebroadernationalcontext,theMatabelelandZambeziWaterProjectsavesassignofthegovernment’sfailuretoaddressdevelopmentissuesaswellthechallengeswithinthelegislativeframeworkthatgovernswaterandsewerreticulationinZimbabwe.TheWaterAct1998andtheZINWAActseenthenasapositivemovetowardsredressingtheimbalancesofthepastbyscrappingwaterrightsandreplacingthemwithrenewablewaterpermits,whiletheZINWAactcreatedaWatermanagementbodyknownasZINWA.Thisinstitutionwastaskedthemassiveroleofregulatingwaterdevelopmentaswellasbeingthesoleproviderofbulkrawwatertolocalauthor
 
itiesinthecountry.Facedwithcapacitychallengeswithinitsstructuresandpoliticalmeddling,ZINWAhasdismallyfailedtodeliverrawwatertolocalauthoritiesandtheeffectsofthishasbeenthemassivelossoflivesinHarareandothercitiesin2008.TheCholeraoutbreakinHarare,acitythatissurroundedbymassivewatersources,yetmismanagementandpolitickinghasseensomeareasgoingforyearswithoutrunningwater.TheBulawayowatersupplydams’currentstatehasbeenreportedtobewarrantingsternwaterrationingmeasureswhileashortterminterventionofpumpingwaterfromMtshabezidamisstilltomaterialize.EveniftheMtshabezipipelinematerializes,expertshavewarnedthattheprojectwouldnotmeetthewaterdemandsofBulawayoandthatoncethedamisdepleteditwouldnotbeabletofillupduetoproblemswiththecatchmentarea.TheonlylastinghopeforthepeopleofMatabelelandistheZambeziwaterprojectthathasalsobeenatthecentreofpoliticalsquabblesbetweentheMatabelelandZambeziWaterTrustandthecurrentministerwaterdevelopmentwiththelaterchangingitsnametoNationalMatabelelandwaterprojectanticipatinggovernmentsupportforprojectbutstilltwoyearshavegonewithoutanymeaningfulcommitmenttotheprojectbytheInclusivegovernment.Themajorproblemwiththeprojectashighlightedearlierhasbeenthegovernancesystemthatisbasedonthe‘centre-peripheryrelationsandthehistoricalfactorsattributabletothenatureofthepost-colonialstateandthenationalisticideologythatsawtribalismasoneoftheenemiesofbuildingnationhoodhencethetrendtotarget,marginalizeandevenattempttoannihilateothertribesthatweresuspectedtobeagainstthestate.ThecontinuedneglectofMatabeleland’swaterissuehasbeendescribedbysomeanalysisasastrategyofdealingwithpoliticaldissent2.Sincetheregionhassince1980beenviewedasagainstZANUPFand“mustbepunishedforfailingtovotewisely”3.Themovetoenactnewwaterpoliciesin1998createdan“artificialandcosmetic”communityinvolvementthroughthesettingupoftheCatchmentCommitteesthatdonothavemuchpowerandaremereagentsoftheministerandhavealsofacedcapacityproblemsdidnotsolveanythingbuthasservedtoentrenchtheproblemsofMatabalelendasZINWAhasforthepast12yearsfailedtoconstructasingledamforBulawayoandhasalsofailedtomanagetheNyamandlovuaquifer.Insteadtheaquiferequipmentwasallegedlylootedtootherareasofthecountryandby2006watercrisisinBulawayoonly3outofthe77boreholessaidtohavebeenworking.PROBLEMSWITHTHEWATERACT1998Thewateract1998apartfromtakingawaywaterrightsandleavingwaterinthehandsofthestatewhichseeminglyisanoblemove,wemustunderstandthenatureofthepost-independencestatethatitisastatethatismarredwithmistrustandtheideaof“onenation,oneparty,oneleader’’isstillandideologyandthepeopleofMatabelelanddistrustanythingthatinvolvesthatstateasthekeyplayer.ThecreationofamonopolybytheZINWAactclosedoutanypotentialinvestorinwaterdevelopmentinZimbabwehencetheimmediatewithdrawalofdonorsimmediatelyaftertheenactmentofthetwolaws.ThishashadanimpactinensuringthatLocalAuthorities,NGOsandanyotherinterestedpartiesfinditdifficulttoinvestinWaterinfrastructuraldevelopment,thefeworganizationsthathavedonesohavehadtogounderseriousscrutinyinregardstotheirinterestsduringthesigningofMemorandumofUnderstanding(MoU)withthelocalauthority.ThiscumbersomeprocesstendstoscareawaysomepotentialinvestorsinWaterDevelopment.ThetwopolicieshavenotbeenoperationalizedbyaclearandwellknowninclusiveprocessofformulatingaNationalWaterDevelopmentStrategy(atleasttothe
 
knowledgeofthewriterafteralotofresearch).ThelackofaclearNationalWaterDevelopmentstrategyhasresultinconfusionandlackofdirectiontoguidethebudgetaryprocesses.ThetwopoliciessufferfromthecommonproblemofZimbabweanlaws,thatofthetendencyofcreatingsuper-ministerswhohavetheultimatesay.Thetwopoliciesdonotdrawclearinter-agencyoperationallinkages,creatingoperationalchallengesbetweenotherplayerslikeDDF.POLITICIZATIONOFWATERAsMuchaMusemwanotesinhispaper“ThepoliticsofwaterinPost-ColonialZimbabwe2008”ThemainproblemwithWaterprovisioninZimbabweispolitics.InHispaperMusemwanarrateshowtheshiftofpowerbaseinandthecontroloflocalauthoritiesbytheMDCinHarareandBulawayohasbeenlargelyviewedbytheZANUPFministerofLocalgovernmentastheslippingawayofpoliticalpowerhencethestancetoensurethattheMDCcontrolledcouncilfailtoprovidewatertotheircitizens.TheoutbreakofCholerathatKilledatleast2000peopleIHararein2008andtherecentTyphoidoutbreakhavebeenaresultofthewaterpoliticsinZimbabwewhereCentralGovernmenthasbeenmeddlingintherunningofcouncilsandthefailurebyZINWAtoproviderelevantinfrastructureresultinginhighdensityareaslikeMabvuku-Tafaragoingfornearlyadecadewithoutrunningwatertriggeringthehealthcrisis.ThesituationinBulawayocanbegenerallyviewedasthecontinuationofGukurahundi(the1980-1987genocide)asthecityhasneverbeenoftheGovernmentofZimbabwe’sdevelopmentagendaandonemayeasilystatethatithasalwaysbeenontheDarereChimurenga’sunderdevelopmentagenda.RECOMMENDATIONS:1. Arecognitionbygovernmentthatwaterisabasichumanright2. De-politizationofwater3. AreviewoftheWaterActtoreducepowersoftheministerwhenitcomestoselectionofCatchmentCouncilsandthedemocratizationoftheprocess.4. TheliberalizationofwaterinfrastructuraldevelopmenttoallowprivateandcommunityplayersthroughthereductionofZINWA’sroletothatofaWaterRegulatingAuthoritytoissueWaterResourcesDevelopmentlicences5. ThedeclarationofMatabelelandasaWaterproblemareaBibliography:THEPOLITICSOFWATERINPOST-COLONIALZIMBABWE(1980-2007)BYMuchapararaMusemwa-DepartmentofHistory,UniversityofWitwatersrand-SeminarpapertobepresentedattheAfricanStudiesCentre,UniversityofLeiden,TheNetherlands,19thJune2008.TowardsUsersDrivingWaterResourcesDevelopmentinZimbabwe:TheRoleofCatchmentCouncils(version2.1)MichielVerweij(M.Sc.)andJan-WillemF.Knegt(M.Sc.)SouthAfricanMulti-StakeholderInitiativeinFormulatingPolicyonDamsandDevelopmentLIANEGREEFF,ProgrammeManager,WaterJusticeAfrica,EnvironmentalMonitoringGroup,POBox13378,Mowbray,7705,SouthAfrica.Tel.:27214482881;fax:27214482922;e-mail:liane@kingsley.co.za;website:www.emg.org.za.GOVERNMENTOFZIMBABWE:WATERACTActs31/1998,22/2001,13/2002,14/2002.WATERSECTORREFORMSINZIMBABWE:THEIMPORTANCEOFPOLICYANDNINSTITUTIONALCOORDINATIONONIMPLEMENTATIONH.Makurira(UniversityofZimbabwe,CivilEngineeringDepartment,Harare,Zimbabwe)

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