BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
CHITUNGWIZA Municipality recently acquired material from the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation Programme Phase (WSSRPII) ZimFund to fix the town’s perennial sewage challenges but the local authority has no engineer to oversee the project.
The municipality received 300mm diameter pipes, a backhoe loader and a skid steer loader from AfDB on March 14.
“We are still expecting delivery of more pipes and equipment to be used to rehabilitate outfall sewer trunk lines in Seke and Zengeza. Council will use 70% of its devolution fund to implement the project,” the municipality said in a notice.
Chitungwiza faces perennial sewer challenges. Unit M had since been declared a sewage hotspot.
Engineer David Duma, who was suspended early this year, was the last engineer that the council had.
Acting director of works, Winnet Mutanda, is not an engineer.
“We are worried whether the AfDB material would be put to good use because the council does not have an engineer. The engineers who applied for the grant are on suspension,” said Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association secretary Brighton Mazhindu.
Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association secretary Gift Kurupati added: “We are worried that those materials are going to be wasted. In the end, it is the residents who suffer.
“It is our hope that the council will reinstate or hire a competent engineer because you can’t buy a car and give it to an unlicensed driver and not expect a disaster.”
Former mayor Lovemore Maiko weighed in saying the council had many projects that require the services of an engineer.
“Chitungwiza has a lot of projects and most of these need an engineer. You talk of roads, drainage, tower lights, water and sewage. The most topical issue is water and sewage,” he said.
“To have someone who comes up with concept notes to deal with water problems or permanently solve sewage problems needs a qualified engineer. But because there is none, that is why these problems have remained unresolved.”
Chitungwiza Residents Trust director Alice Kuveya said acting town clerk Evangelista Machona was to blame.
“She will never understand the urgency of fixing the sewage system because she never stayed in a house that burst. If we had managers who reside here, running the council, we would be somewhere. We are also afraid that the material will disappear before they repair or fix the sewage system,” she said.
Machona confirmed that the municipality had no engineer, adding that they were waiting for approval from the Local Government ministry to recruit one.
“Engineers will be seconded by the ministry if there is need, but we are in the process of recruiting some engineers,” Machona said.
Last year, the council was allocated US$1,787 million under the African Development Bank’s ZimFund for sewage reticulation as part of the Urgent Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation project Phase I and Phase II.