Norton Ward 12 Residents Cry Foul
By Pauline F. Chateuka
As soon as he was announced the winner of Ward 12 council seat, he could not wait even for the inauguration of the winning President who would then swear in all other winning candidates of the 2018 Elections.
Councillor Tachiona did not waste time but believed he had already started work as councillor of Ward 12 in Norton. His first port of call was all bore holes in his ward. He came to a borehole water point in Maridale near Takunda Primary School, where anxious residents waited to welcome their newly elected independent councillor whom they were ready to work with. He did the same with the other three borehole water points. At this meeting, residents poured out their grievances to their councillor who could not hide his happiness for having been elected the councillor.
In his introductory remarks, Councillor Tachiona assured residents that he had come to address issues to do with development in his ward firstly targeting on the water crisis, reminding residents that he was an Engineer by profession and therefore this was one of the developmental areas he knew best. He lectured about how he was going to provide water to the people and not just water, but clean water, adding that residents would be required to pump out some money to contribute to this provision. The funds, he said, would be used to buy chemicals to treat the water and take care of any other business to make sure residents are supplied with water. In response to this lecture, residents clapped hands and ululated showing their appreciation in advance. One of the residents even enthusiastically shouted, “Tafara Councillor .”
The councillor came back a few days later for yet another meeting with residents and this was when every household was asked to pay 5 Bond joining fee that would be used to purchase material for the construction of an electrified water source. A borehole committee was set up to collect money from residents. Residents paid the money and physically all was done and residents were happy to fetch water from taps. They were also asked to pay a monthly fee that would go towards ZESA. All went on well until one day ZESA disconnected electricity saying it was illegal to connect electricity from one household to another point and residents were made to pay a fine of 500 Bond. The Councillor could not protect residents as he had promised, but he sweet-talked ZESA and electricity was reconnected though the fine was still paid. This was when residents started to look at events taking place around the borehole water point with a different eye. Residents that the committee was instead conniving with the councillor and was misappropriating fees that they were paying towards electricity.
Initially, residents had agreed that some youths in the community would take up the responsibility of opening the water tank every morning and serve residents with water but this did not go as planned. The Councillor opted to work with a bunch of old women and men who take turns residents with water.
As the situation stands now, it is alleged that, as later on by residents, the committee pays very little towards electricity and share the rest of the money collected from poor residents every beginning of the month and the councillor also gets his share. Every resident who fails to pay for the precious liquid cannot get the three-bucket allocation per household per day unless payment is made.
No money, no water, equality
This so-called system treats every resident equally regardless of age or status (mentally or physically challenged) no money no water.
Residents are not happy about the whole scenario and have taken up the matter with Maridale Residents Association who have tried to resolve the issue amicably with the Councillor after having met with the council who also claim that they contributed material that was used to do construction work at the water point but the councillor says he does not the association, he only works with the committees. The Association was left with no option but to seek audience with the Norton Constituency Member of Parliament Mliswa who (at a meeting with residence) also claimed that he had contributed towards the water project by giving the Councillor $800 which the Councillor could not account for. Temba Mliswa has since reported the matter to the police.
The matter was also raised at a meeting between Norton Residents Associations, Norton residents and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). The meeting was by Hon. who has since engaged the commission to look into matters of corruption in Norton.
In an interview, Councillor Tachiona confirmed having facilitated for the illegal connection and reconnection of electricity and also having asked the residents to pay the fine of 500 Bond to ZESA even though he disowned all the committees saying when he was voted in as the committees were already operating at the water points.
There are four water points in Ward 12 and the scenario is more or less the same. Now the puzzled residents who had fully trusted their Independent Councillor, Mr Tachiona in the name of development in their ward, and who are still paying the monthly fees for water, which has since been reviewed upwards from 2 Bond to 10 Bond per family per month, are looking up to their MP Mliswa to rescue them.