Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

The problem of water, power and robbers in Zimbabwe

TOP del.icio.us

I always read publications by organizations like Harare Residents Trust and Combined Harare Residents Association among others and feel proud of their work as voices of residents in Zimbabwe and feel encouraged by their effort in taking time to meet residents to solicit their views.  However there is one area which is not adequately covered by these constructive initiatives. I wonder if this place,  Ruwa, slightly above twenty kilometers to the east of Harare along Mutare road, has leaders and residents representatives at all?

Ruwa is one of the fastest growing catchment areas of the city of Harare. The area supplies labour mainly to Ruwa industries, Masasa industries well as the city centre. It comprises prominent places like Zimre Park, Windsor Park, Damafalls, and the core Ruwa which people refer to as the “location.”

The three major problems in Ruwa are water, transport and robbers.


Ruwa has a permanent water problem despite having all the infrastructure in place. People usually find water from their taps a day or two before the billing date towards month end. In response to the problem a borehole was drilled in the southern part close to Better Days Shopping Centre but this borehole was last used in November before the onset of the rainy season. A supply of water comes from a pump close to Spur Shopping area. Residents are expected to fetch water from here after travelling distances more or less 2 to 3 kilometers. At the time of writing the pump is not operational as there is reported to be a fault for over a week now.

Owing to the difficulties in getting water, residents have resorted to digging wells in their own premises. These borehole sites are not properly surveyed and given the size of the stands, wells are by default too close to houses, some are even on the wrong side of houses risking the water being contaminated with sewage.  The water is not safe to drink at all. The wells cannot supply water all year round, and during the dry season, they run dry forcing everyone to go and queue for water by the tanks where water is pumped.


Residents in Ruwa are overcharged by commuters who charge them double fare during peak hours. Residents have tried to resist but they are now gradually giving in. At Fourth Street Bus Terminus, two Ruwa stations have sprouted. The one for those who can afford the double fare and the other for those who can afford the normal fare. For the love of money commuters prefer ferrying those who can afford more, leaving the poor majority stranded by the bus stop waiting for a few large buses which charge reasonable fares. In addition no commuter buses reach into places like Windsor Park. They drop people close to TM store where they have to walk up to about five kilometers to their homes.


The whole way from Mabvuku turn off, to well after George Shopping Centre is unsafe for people after dark or towards sunset. Police have at one time camped at Zimre turnoff, where cases of murder are frequent. Now just their tent is left and the police are no more, yet the place remains as risky as before.

At the TM bus stop where people drop to get into Windsor Park, the road has become a hunting ground for merciless robbers who have no hesitation to take peoples’ lives for money. People have been robbed and killed at the place. It is public knowledge yet no action has been taken about it. Darkness remains a dangerous snare for Windsor residents who sometimes have to drop at Maha Shopping Centre to walk across industries for their safety yet increasing the length of the already long distance which they cover on foot.

Faced with these challenges, Ruwa residents are living in constant fear for their lives. Of late a young orphan girl was murdered in mysterious circumstances which the police are still investigating. There has been no media coverage and no talk about it as if it was normal. We call upon whoever has authority to look into this problem as a matter of urgency.

Urban people are leading rural lifestyles yet they pay urban rates and contribute to the urban economy.

Comments are closed.