AfricaBreaking NewsClimate Change/ESG

Water Crisis in Musaya Ward Leads to Conjugal Rights Complaints and Community Struggles

Men from Musaya Ward in Chirundu District, Southern Province, Zambia have expressed concerns over the violation of their conjugal rights due to a severe water crisis. The ongoing drought has forced their spouses to spend nights at a well, leading to significant domestic strife.

Albert Chasala highlighted the broader impacts of the water shortage, noting that children are unable to attend school and livestock production has plummeted. 

He praised the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) for their plans to rehabilitate the Zemba Zemba Dam, which they hope will alleviate the crisis.

“Our children have stopped school just to look for water,” said Chasala. “Our wives leave us men sleeping because they spend nights at the only water point. We are now denied conjugal rights because our women sleep at the well.”

Josephine Mafuta, a local woman, reported increased conflict within relationships, as some men accuse their wives of promiscuity due to their overnight absences.

“We sleep there from 01:00 hours to 06:00 hours,” Mafuta explained. “Our men accuse us of other activities, but we are simply trying to draw water for our families. Meanwhile, some men take this opportunity to visit girlfriends.”

The CEJ Executive Director, Maggie Mwape, announced that her organisation, with the WWF, has secured 60% of the funding required for the Zemba Zemba Dam rehabilitation. The remaining 40% is expected from the Chirundu Town Council.

Mwape emphasised the importance of water for both domestic use and livestock, warning that the current scarcity could have lasting detrimental effects on education and domestic harmony.

“This severe drought has led the Head of State to declare a National Disaster,” Mwape noted, urging further support from local and international stakeholders.

Engineer Gabriel Mukuka, Disability Inclusion in Climate Action Project Coordinator, added that the water crisis has had a particularly harsh impact on people with disabilities.

Efforts are underway to complete the dam rehabilitation by November, ahead of the anticipated rainfall, to restore water access and reduce the severe strains on the Musaya community.

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