CCC legislators on Wednesday quizzed Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Amon Murwira over the Government’s interference in the running of local authorities.
Murwira was standing in for the Leader of Government Business in Parliament.
CCC members of parliament are opposed to the controversial Pomona dumpsite deal, which was recently suspended by Harare councillors.
The contract was awarded to a Netherlands-based company whose local representative, Delish Nguwaya, is allegedly linked to the family of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Despite opposition from CCC councillors and Harare residents, the Government is adamant that there will be no going back on the US$344 million dollars waste-to-energy contract.
Harare East MP, Tendai Biti (CCC), questioned Murwira on the constitutional basis for Government’s intervention to force through the Pomona dumpsite deal. Said Biti:
The Constitution of Zimbabwe is clear that Local Authorities are run by those that are elected by citizens to run these.
Is there a change of policy or Constitution because we now see serious interference with the city council by the central government with regards to the recently concluded and controversial Harare Pomona Dumpsite Agreement where the City of Harare is being levied the sum of US$22 000 per day for receiving its own garbage over a contract which many councillors are not in agreement with.
Can the minister clarify; why is the government not allowing the City of Harare to make its own decisions where the Minister of Local Government gives guarantees on a contract for Devolution Funds in the absence of a devolution framework?
In response, Murwira said it is the government’s policy that local authorities operate within the confines of the law. He added:
The Local Authority is headed by the Ministry of Local government.
It is not an independent institution. Therefore, it (the Pomona deal) is within the law.
If there are specific complaints, they should be dealt with specifically.
As I said, the government has authority over local councils. To this end, we are aware of a Cabinet approved and a Council also approved the deal.