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Bulawayo Groups Launch Campaign Against Water Meters

Cars plastered with anti-meter posters in Bulawayo.

Civil society groups in the city of Bulawayo launched a campaign Friday against pre-paid water meters that the local authority is planning to install.

More than 20 organizations are taking part in Right to Water Campaign, arguing that water meters are a recipe for disaster.

Organizers traversed the city in cars plastered with anti-meter posters, inviting residents to attend meetings this weekend ahead of a march September 4.

Participants include the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, the Habakkuk Trust and Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers.

“The pre-paid water meter system is not good for the resident in Bulawayo or any other location in Zimbabwe because they are basically a privatization of water,” said Mmeli Dube, one of the campaign leaders.

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Meanwhile, civic rights group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) says it is waiting for clarification from the Bulawayo City Council on why it is going against its previous decision that it will not remove vendors from the streets or confiscate their goods, following the group’s recent demonstrations in the city.

Bulawayo Mayor Martin Moyo maintained in an interview with the VOA that the local authority has stopped removing vendors from the streets until the on-going process of allocating them vending bays is complete.

He said council is aware of vendors are struggling to make ends meet and therefore has stopped all process to forcibly remove them from the streets.

But WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu, who says most of their members are vendors, said things on the ground are different from what the mayor is asserting.

“Vendors wares are still being confiscated in the city and that is why we are demanding an explanation before we take the local authority to the constitutional court.”

The country’s local authorities have been removing vendors from the streets saying they have become an eyesore.

The vendors claim the areas the councils are moving them to are not profitable as they are out of town, away from the busy streets.