via ZINWA demands cash payments despite ZANU PF debt cancellation | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell December 11, 2013
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has demanded cash payments for outstanding bills from rural residents in the Midlands, despite a mass debt cancellation promised by ZANU PF this year.
The party vowed that outstanding bills, including urban council bills, ZINWA bills and power bills from the electricity authority, would be cancelled to alleviate pressure on the voting public.
Largely seen as a vote buying gimmick, the scheme has created chaos, particularly in urban areas where councils say they have been plunged into debt by a lack of payments from residents.
In rural areas too there has been confusion and rising anger, with accusations that the scheme has only benefitted urban dwellers.
An Mberengwa irrigation farmer, who spoke to SW Radio Africa on condition of anonymity, said ZINWA has threatened to cut off his water supplies and the supplies of other farmers there. He expressed anger over the situation, saying most people in the area were originally greatly relieved by the promise to cancel the outstanding bills.
“Why are we left out if everyone else gets their bills cancelled?” the Mberengwa man said.
He explained that their rates have skyrocketed in recent years, ever since the multi-currency system was introduced in 2009.
“Before that we weren’t farming, because there was no power, no water. After the government of national unity, we could start because there was power. But then the rates just went up and up, and we can’t afford it,” he explained.
He added that ZINWA has been demanding cash payments, despite the irrigation farmers often using ‘raw’ rainwater supplies, instead of pumped water.
“In urban areas, all the bills were cancelled so why is ZINWA excluding rural farmers? It seems only some people are benefitting. So we want the ZANU PF government to know what is happening and explain what ZINWA should be doing,” the man said.