Government will drill 20 boreholes spread evenly across the 10 wards of Tsholotsho North to alleviate acute water shortages that have seen villagers travelling long distances in search of potable water.
Addressing a Zanu-PF campaign feedback meeting in Tsholotsho on Tuesday, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said 15 boreholes would be sunk in the area in addition to five that the Zimbabwe National Water Authority is presently drilling.
Cde Kasukuwere ordered that the drilling team sinking a borehole at Phondo Line, which had two boreholes drilled in 1937 and 1956, to remain on site until the 20 boreholes are sunk.
He was responding to a request by Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo to add at least 15 boreholes to the approved five in priority areas to ease the villagers’ plight.
Prof Moyo, the Zanu-PF candidate for Tsholotsho North in the June 10 by-elections, said interactions with the people during the campaign had revealed that people faced two major problems — water and human-animal conflict.
“It’s amazing you know, we hear it every time,” he said.
“It’s not new that in Tsholotsho we have a water problem. Everybody who lives here or knows about this place will tell you water is a challenge.
“This time around it is particularly made worse by the fact that this is a drought year and the water table is also very low, traditionally so,” said Prof Moyo in the meeting.
“We’ve been getting submissions from the communities, especially from women who share with us harrowing stories of long distances they have to travel because there would be no water point where they live.”
Prof Moyo said people travel long distances and queue for the water, resulting in most men complaining that their wives were sleeping at the water points.
He said Cde Kasukuwere had responded by having Zinwa earmark five critical boreholes in three wards, namely Ward 9 with two, Ward 2 with two and Ward 21 with one.
“But there had been a request which prioritised 43 boreholes. The need is much more than that. But there was feedback that 43 was a very high number given the time, that in the fullness of time they will be attended to,” said Prof Moyo.
“Within that 43, 20 were prioritised. Out of that 20, Zinwa has selected these five and we are happy that the Zinwa team is here. They are here working on the ground. But there are these 15, Cde Minister that we would really plead with you and your good offices that they are attended to. They cover the rest of the wards that we did not mention. We have shared this information with your office and we hope that we will get a good response.”
After the meeting, a visit was made to Phondo Line to witness the drilling of the boreholes. Cde Kasukuwere directed the Zinwa team to drill 20 more boreholes spread at an average of two per ward.
An elated Headman Phondo explained to the ministers that there were two boreholes in the area.
“The first was drilled in 1937 and the second in 1956. In 1956 there were only 15 homesteads in the area but now there are 95. This is the third borehole and we are happy with the development.
“The people won’t have to travel long distances in search of water.”
During the feedback meeting, Prof Moyo also shared with Cde Kasukuwere the threat posed by elephants to personal and food security to an area which shares the border with Hwange National Park.
“These elephants are posing a security threat to human life. You have been saying Cde Minister through your National Parks (and Wildlife Management Authority) that the park has become overpopulated.
“The one thing we can tell you as witnesses is you need to do something substantive and positive about our elephants. We can tell you they are too many,” said Prof Moyo.
“There is now an ecological imbalance between wildlife and human life and the communities here are really concerned about this.
“Secondly, the elephants have destroyed whatever has been left with some chance in the fields. It has been destroyed. It’s unfortunate that the destruction is happening in a drought year. We know that Government is fully seized with the issue of the consequences of the drought, and we appreciate that but in Tsholotsho,” he said.
Cde Kasukuwere said, “Animals must not become a danger or a menace to society.
“Actually we must now be using these resources, harvesting them to ensure that the services that are required, water and so forth are issues attended to as a result of our resources,” he said.
Cde Kasukuwere said he would engage a number of ministers including Primary and Secondary Education Lazarus Dokora for infrastructural development in schools in the area with emphasis on science subjects.
He commended the Tsholotsho North campaign team for their work on the ground, saying it was easy to smell victory from the co-ordination displayed by the team.
“There is no doubt that Tsholotsho North will be firmly back in the Zanu-PF stable come 10 June.
“We are happy because you are organised. There are some provinces that never win anything, but have the loudest noises. Anybody in there just talks but they have never won anything,” said Cde Kasukuwere.