The Chiutsi Community under Gokwe Kabuyuni Constituency of the Gokwe North District is locked into a deep water crisis due to the drying of local water sources – springs, wetlands and wells.

This community was fortunate to have reliable water supplies but they soon dried up. One of the villagers speaking on the grounds of anonymity said it was due to the anger of the Gods that these wetlands and springs dried.

The spring was at the Roggers (kugomo kwaRogers) Mountain. It supplied underground water to the whole Chiutsi area where people drilled wells. Now they dried because the Gods are angry. At the spring, Mangirazi built his garden there by closing inn the spring. He began to monopolize it in a bid to sell water to the community. He was taken to the Headman Siyamabhetshu by a man called L&T, but since then the spring dried. The Gods of the land were not happy.

Many people in the community believed that the new culture of trading water resulted in the drying of the Wells in the Chiutsi area.

“We are in deep crisis since 2005. However, the Gods of the land saw us and the whole Pana Communal Farm was blessed with water. The owners of farm began to divide it into portions and selling as wells or gardens depending with one’s ability to pay. Those who sunk their wells began to sell water to those in need. So the Gods took their water and now we are in this trouble,” said one of the villagers.

One of the villagers said there used to be perennial wells in the area. But as the culture of selling water began to sink in the mind. These wells began to be fortified.

There was a big dam-like well there. We covered it with a wooded stockade to secure it from animals. But someone went on to sink it, built a stone-wall and a concrete seal to restrict access. People began to suffer as he enjoyed alone. He could fill his drums of water and take them to Chitekete where he trade them. He was making a lot of money but it did not last long. It dried up because the Gods of the land were not happy.

Another man who claimed to belong to the Moyo family criticised the Roman Catholic Church for the crisis.

When they heard that we have been blessed with water, they came and confiscated our land. They established a school and a church in our land. So our ancestors expressed their anger and dried the whole land. They won’t drink water from the land of our fathers.”

He expressed his anger over this forced migration. However, he said they relocated to their farms in the opposite side and they were blessed with water since their ancestors are the spirits of water.

Now, our fathers gave us water and we are supplying the whole community. We charge USD 90 for one to drill a well only but if someone wants a portion of the land we then we double the charge. Other conditions are that the person will give us the work to site and dig the well were we charge USD 5 or 20 litre bucket of grans.

However, some who bought the wells from this new area are complaining about them drying up. They all agree that it’s not a norm to sell water to the villagers. This destroys the communal nature of the community and it angers the Gods.

All the wetlands and springs in this area are drying up. Those who are continually selling land for water or selling water must be brought before the headman. They are going against our culture and norms. Hence, we are sinking into a deep water crisis because of such people,” said one of the men who bought a well.

The culture of selling water have seen other people living large. They no longer care for woman who move the whole day and night from garden to garden begging for water.

You see a man with that garden. He comes early morning daily. One need to bring a 2 kg of maize grain in order to get a 20l bucket of water. If one drinks his animals he will be waiting counting the buckets. That have become his business. He is feeding on quality food and eats broilers daily. He supply the villages, door to door and can even deliver to Zhomba, Chitekete and Rusiye centres. But we are confident that soon it will come to pass God will not allow us to suffer like this,” said a woman who identified as Amai Rumbi.

It seems even those who are selling water are quiet aware of the pending consequences. Only that they don’t have option since they are forced by circumstances. We talked to the man who was accused by Amai Proud for not caring for their plight.

It’s true very soon it will dry up and everyone is praying for that. But one thing, I bought this well, I did not get it for free. So it’s a payback time. Again, I’m not the only one selling water. So even if I allow them free access, there is no way my well will remain with water as others are drying up. This is an issue of opportunity or chance. So I have to use this opportunity effectively” he said.

Some complained that people are always negative. Even if one gives them water for free once it dries up, they laugh at them. So they don’t have an option but to sell this water.

However, some villagers called for the serious intervention by community leaders to stop the culture of selling land and water. However, they expressed their shame that the current leaders are also benefiting from the system, hence, they will not bite the hand that feeds them. Thus, they are looking for any help they can get to serve the situation.

A local headman who expressed his dissatisfaction said, he once raised the issue in their meeting with Chief Nenyunka. He is sure that the Headman if interested will push the agenda and soon there will be a crackdown against such people. He said no one has a right to sell land and water. So the system must come to an end.

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