The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa has urged the central government to stop interfering with the affairs of Harare City Council (HCC). This was after Local Government minister, July Moyo, responded to the local authority’s suspension of the Pomona Waste-to-energy deal between HCC and Geogenix BV, a Netherlands-based organisation, by saying the deal can’t be stopped. President Emerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, also threatened Harare Mayor, Jacob Mafume over the deal saying he might be arrested for trying to stop a project that was approved by Cabinet and Parliament. In a statement, seen by Pindula News, CCC said the reaction by senior government officials constituted interference. Reads the statement:
POMONAGATE — CENTRAL GOVT MUST STOP INTERFERING, SPONSORING CORRUPTION
We condemn the corrupt interference of Central Government in the affairs of the City of Harare and the recent threats by Mr Mnangagwa’ spokesperson, George Charamba against the Mayor of Harare, His Worship Jacob Mafume. Mr George Charamba has threatened Mayor Mafume with imprisonment at Chikurubi Maximum Prison if he continues to oppose Cabinet’s (unlawful) decision to endorse the corrupt US$240 million Pomona waste management deal. Mr Charamba’s unconstitutional threats follow a resolution passed by a special meeting called by CCC councillors last week to suspend the operation of the illegal contract purportedly entered into between Netherlands-based Geogenix BV company and the City of Harare, which will see a company affiliated to Mr Mnangagwa’s regime, Geogenix BV pocketing US$22 000 per day for 30 years.
The Pomona Waste Management deal was unprocedurally concluded. The deal did not go to tender as required by law to avert corruption. Additionally, it was signed by Councillor Mutizwa who was illegally appointed by Minister July Moyo. This illegality was recently set aside by the High Court. Any acts purportedly done by Mutizwa in this capacity are a nullity at law. These are clear violations of s68 of the Constitution which requires all administrative conduct to be lawful, reasonable and fair.
Even more concerning for residents is the unsustainable cost of the project. In terms of the illegal deal, the City must pay a grossly unreasonable US$40 per tonne of waste, with an “estimated daily delivery” of 550 tonnes. This amounts to US$22 000 per day for 30 years. To compound this illegality, the US$22 000 per day is payable regardless of whether or not this amount of waste is dumped at the site. This means that the City will also be required to pay for waste not dumped at the site. If the City defaults on these onerous contractual terms, Geogenix BV may choose to terminate the agreement and the Council would be required to pay US$3.5 million in damages to cover all costs and expenses. The contract makes it mandatory for payment to be in USD for the 30-year period in circumstances where Harare waste collection costs are in the local currency in a context with huge disparity and inconsistency in the exchange rates of the local currency and the United States dollar. This cost structure is astronomical, grossly irrational and beyond the reach of the citizens and Council. Harare City Council does not have capacity to meet this obligation without falling deep into an intractable debt trap which can never be in the interests of residents.
The illegal Pomona Dumpsite Deal is one of several corrupt deals entered into with the collusion of Zanu PF and Mr Mwonzora‘s MDC councillors at a time when CCC councillors had been illegally recalled from Council. Armed with a fresh mandate from the citizens, CCC councillors have been fighting to set aside the corrupt deals using powers they hold at law.
Accordingly, we call for an immediate end to threats against Mayor Mafume and CCC councillors, central government interference in Council affairs and call for implementation of the devolution clauses of the Constitution. Service delivery for the betterment of citizens must be at the centre of all decisions made and activities conducted by local authorities.
Fadzayi Mahere National Spokesperson