THE MDC-Alliance-run Bulawayo City Council’s (BCC) failure to manage the worsening water crisis has resulted in two National Assembly members from the same party fighting over delivery of 20 litres of water.
Mpopoma-Pelandaba MP Mr Charles Moyo clashed with his counterpart, Bulawayo Central MP Ms Nicole Watson, after she delivered water to her domestic worker who lives in Mpopoma yesterday.
The clash occurred on the MDC-Alliance WhatsApp chat group.
Mpopoma and the rest of the western suburbs are experiencing serious water shortages after the council revealed that it would only be able to supply water to the areas at the month end following theft of copper cables and technical faults.
Mr Moyo is alleged have blasted Ms Watson for delivering water in his constituency without his knowledge, even without understanding that his colleague had only brought water to her domestic worker.
The exchange between the two legislators has been circulated on various social media platforms including Twitter.
In the exchange, Mr Moyo, seemed to have wanted Ms Watson to inform him before delivering water to the area “Hon Nikky must know her boundary how can she ferry amanzi (water) to Mpopoma without my knowhow (sic), do you want to be seen as a hardworking Hon in Mpopoma-Pelandaba,” read one of his messages.
“How do you come into the Mpopoma-Pelandaba matrix. You are out of order and disrespectful.”
Ms Watson tried to reason with Mr Moyo telling him that she had to respond to the needs of her domestic worker but he would have none of it: “Don’t tell me about your maid,” he retorted, before she fired back: “She is lucky she has me and you should be aware of issues.”
Bulawayo is facing a serious water crisis that has forced council to impose a 144-hour water shedding programme to manage the dwindling water levels at the city’s supply dams.
Water levels at city’ six supply dams; Insiza, Mtshabezi, Mzingwane, Inyankuni, lower and Upper Ncema dams dropped to 25 percent and the situation is expected to worsen.
Contacted for comment, Mr Moyo admitted he tore into his counterpart before praising Ms Watson for responding to her employee’s needs.
“The issue here is that there is a water crisis which forced Watson to deliver water to her maid. There is no news here, maybe the news is that she brought the water to her worker because of the water crisis. But otherwise there is no issue,” said Mr Moyo.
Pressed to explain if he believed that those delivering water should first contact him, Mr Moyo backtracked on his initial statements, as he claimed that there was a “misunderstanding over the issue”.
Ms Watson said Mr Moyo misunderstood her as she was only delivering a few litres of water to her domestic water.
“He didn’t understand, ask him (why he sent those messages) and I was in a hurry when I was doing (sending) the messages. But most of the times, I’m always misinterpreted because I speak factually and bluntly. I delivered water for my maid. It was 20 litres and a few buckets,” said Ms Watson.
Residents slammed the two legislators while demanding authorities to address the water crisis.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) said the petty fight between the two public officials shows the lack of leadership from within their ranks.
BPRA coordinator Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu said the city’s water crisis should be managed better.
“The Bulawayo water crisis is mainly man made. The world over there seems to be a water crisis and authorities are working to lessen the impact of such crises. South Africa’s Cape Town managed to deal with what could have been the worst water crisis through innovation and leadership but here we are not seeing that. We are only seeing council passing resolutions where they are parcelling out land for their personal gains. When it comes to innovation to address the city’s problems there is zero thinking. BCC is said to be the best run city in the country and we expect better from it,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said council should have long ago moved towards drawing water from aquifers as climate change has proved that rainfed water cannot be relied on.