Zimbabwe

Water woes: girls suffer more

by Edgar Gweshe

The erratic water supplies that have characterized this satellite town have left young girls vulnerable to sexual abuse as they have to fetch the precious liquid late at night.

A snap survey showed that as late as 12 midnight, young girls are queuing at boreholes for water and some male adults are taking advantage of the situation to prey on the desperate young women.

Due to the long queues at most of the boreholes during day time, most residents have resorted to fetching water during the night when there is less congestion.

A 17-year-old girl from Zengeza 1 who identified herself as Mazvita said, “We usually go for water during the late hours when there will be few people at the boreholes but we have become prone to such things as sexual harassment and rape.”

Besides the fear of being sexually abused, the girls, like most of the residents, have to be on high alert for robbers that are common in the area for waylaying people and confiscating such things as cell phones and cash.

The situation has been compounded by the fact that most boreholes in the town are breaking down due to overuse and some residents have to walk long distances to fetch water. A form four pupil at Zengeza 3 High School who identified herself as Merlin said the search for water was taking a huge chunk of their study time.

The Municipality has failed to supply sufficient water due to limited supplies from Harare City Council, to which it owes $8 million.