Courts close while MP’s are turned away from hotels


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The High Court in Harare has suspended hearing cases as it has been hit by … The suspension was with effect from Tuesday mid-morning when staff was told to go home as there …

On Wednesday it was the same story- no water. It is not clear when hearing would resume but prisoners would be the hardest hit.

A visit to the court Wednesday confirmed there was little activity and many courtrooms were closed.

Harare has not had adequate supplies of clean water for months, forcing
people to seek out shallow wells and rivers for water to drink, wash and
cook. The situation has prompted an outbreak of cholera that has claimed over 120 lives since September, according to a doctors’ group.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) non-governmental organization condemned the de facto closure of the High Court. “That such a court as a vehicle for protecting human rights should be closed due to lack of water is a serious undermining of equal protection of the law to litigants, detainees, and even convicted prisoners whose matters are on appeal from lower courts,” the organization said.

Also on Tuesday, the precarious water situation in Harare forced the adjournment of Parliament to the 16th December. It had only resumed sitting that day. Parliamentary business came to a halt a few hours after the legislators had resumed sitting.

Cash-strapped Parliament

The House of Assembly had originally been forced to adjourn on the 23rd of October to 11th November because of lack of funds from government, after reports claimed that MPs based outside Harare were being turned away from hotels in the capital as there was no money to pay their bills.

There was very little business in parliament on Tuesday, except debate on the presidential speech. There were no new motions introduced. The impasse over the formation of an inclusive government has also delayed the introduction of constitutional amendment number 19.

The constitutional amendment – which has yet to be formally put on the
agenda – is supposed to be rushed through to create the post of Prime
Minister that Morgan Tsvangirai has been allocated under the power sharing
deal, along with other posts and changes.

Bad governance, plus chronic economic mismanagement and corruption, has
meant that government has done nothing to maintain the water system.

Water has become the most sought-after natural resource in the country and
chronic shortages affects over 60 percent of the country’s population. Millions of people do not have access to clean drinking water or adequate sanitation facilities and open sewers are a fact of life in most high density suburbs.

Harare is now a risk city to visit.

Some hotels are also showing signs of experiencing water problems. Bathing water is being rationed to only 20 litres per room per day.

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