Masvingo Residents Forum Building a Winning Advocacy Strategy in Environmental Conservation

After a persistent plea for help from residents and environmental activists who form the members of the Masvingo Residents Forum (MRF), the MRF sought to engage the town of Masvingo on the dumping of raw sewage into the Mucheke and Shakashe rivers in the town of Masvingo.

This came after numerous reported cases of spotted fish and other aquatic species being seen dead floating along the two rivers. MRF has given the City of Masvingo a 48-hour ultimatum to immediately act responsibly and stop the dumping of raw sewage into these rivers.

It is very encouraging to note that on June 15, 2022, the discharge of raw sewage into the Mucheke and Shakashe rivers has since stopped and this can be attributed to the advocacy efforts of the MRF and environmental activists affiliated with the organization.

This incident is not the first time that the town of Masvingo has come under the spotlight for contaminating bodies of water. In the past 5 years, the town has been fined three times by the Environmental Management Agency of Zimbabwe for contamination.

These practices by the Masvingo City Council endanger aquatic life and downstream communities that depend on water from the Mucheke and Shakashe rivers for domestic purposes.

The council’s continued discharge of raw sewage and industrial effluent is in direct breach of Section 57(1) read with Section 70 of the Environmental Management Act, Chapter 20:27, which prohibits the discharge or application of any poisonous or toxic, harmful or obstruction of materials, radioactive waste or other pollutants into the aquatic environment in violation of water pollution control standards.

The Masvingo Residents Forum will continue to advocate for respect for environmental and conservation rights within the local government spectrum.

Source: Masvingo Residents Forum (MRF)

Jennifer C. Burleigh