The alarmist reports in the official media about an alleged act of attempted genocide averted at the last minute at Harare’s waterworks must have caused alarm and despondency among the city’s population.
The enormity of the whole story and the way it played out betrayed the presence of vested interests that will stop at nothing to use their power to achieve some sinister end.
That the public was never at any time in any danger was clear, but the intrigue that accompanied this simple issue shows the kind of abuse of public office which commentators have always pointed to, in stressing the all-pervasive rot that has crippled our system of governance.
Water has always been one of the biggest problems besetting the City of Harare.
Not only is money unavailable to ensure enough chemicals are bought to purify our water and to repair the dilapidated infrastructure, but also there has never been an interest on the part of the authorities to ensure that our sources of water are kept clean.
Indeed, Harare’s sources of water are the most polluted in the country due to industrial waste and nothing has been done to stop the wanton release into the river systems of this toxic waste, which makes it almost impossible to purify the water.
The worst polluters of the water system are known but we have not seen the same kind of enthusiasm and gusto on the part of authorities to stem this blatant poisoning of our water, such as we saw in the past few days.
While there should be no excuses for the recent mix-up, the manner in which the debacle was handled smacked of political intrigue rather than a genuine desire to safeguard the lives of Harare residents.
The incident also appears to have provided an opportunity to either get rid of, or punish, certain players in the system.
The supply and transportation of water treatment chemicals must be big business and a number of politicians might naturally be eyeing a share of the pie, but shenanigans such as we saw recently can be played out without causing alarm among the city residents.