Tsvangirai must use Bulawayo visit wisely


PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will be in Bulawayo today to ostensibly address a myriad of problems facing the city’s business sector. We urge him to take the trip seriously.

Southern Eye Editorial

The country is already in an election mode and the temptation for any politician leading a party that is gearing for polls would be to use the visit to ready his troops for the battle ahead.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka on Tuesday said the Prime Minister’s main business in the city would be to update business and church leaders “specifically on the election and mapping a way forward regarding the elections”.

Bulawayo, just like any other city or town in Zimbabwe, has suffered immensely because of political leaders who have prioritised their survival ahead of the economy in the past four years.

However, Bulawayo has urgent issues that have been crying for attention for too long and Tsvangirai must seize the attention to demonstrate that his government is still in touch with the people.

Bulawayo is experiencing one of the worst water shortages following the decommissioning of Upper Ncema Dam last month.

Council has also warned that Inyankuni Dam will be decommissioned this month. This will mean the city would have lost two of its four supply dams six months before the rainy season normally starts.

A deterioration in the city’s water supplies will worsen the economic problems that have been graphically expressed through massive company closures and job losses.

There is also the spectre of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid, which have caused havoc in other cities such as Harare and Chitungwiza.

Tsvangirai’s MDC-T superintends over the Water Resources Development and Management ministry which holds the key to a medium solution to the city’s water problems — the Mtshabezi Dam pipeline link. The Prime Minister must leave the residents of Bulawayo with a clear answer on several questions they have about this project.

Water Resources minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo has made several promises, including that the pipeline link would be operational by December last year and none of those targets have been met.

This is an opportunity for Tsvangirai, as a supervisor of government programmes, to ensure that a project that will transform the city in a meaningful way is completed. Most of the problems besetting the city and the region are known to the government and it is our hope that the Prime Minister is not just coming here to listen, but also to give answers.

The people are tired of empty promises and the MDC-T leader will be well advised not to let politics overshadow his visit.