…Shields MDC-T councillors to protect controversial deals
AS consistently reported by The NewsHawks prior to the March 26 by-elections, Local Government minister July Moyo (pictured) has stepped in to protect his multi-million-dollar corrupt deals at Town House in Harare and other cities by blocking the removal of MDC-T councillors he used as conduits to facilitate the murky transactions.
Working with the MDC-T councillors during the time Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) officials were recalled, Moyo personally facilitated several deals, including the dodgy US$400 million Pomona Waste Management facility that involves a Netherlands-based firm working with controversial businessman and friend of the First Family Delish Nguwaya as their local partner.
Moyo personally attended the signing ceremony in Harare at Town House and made sure the suspicious deal was signed and this all took place with the help of committees chaired by Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC-T councillors.
With CCC councillors now back in charge at Town House, some dubious deals were under threat. CCC councillors quickly set in motion plans to replace committee chairs following the removal of acting mayor Stewart Mutizwa as a precursor to scrutinising deals.
But before the committee chairs were removed at a meeting at Town House yesterday, Moyo wrote a letter halting the process.
“Reference is made to the just recently conducted by-elections conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) wherein the results have been announced. As l congratulate the new councillors who have been elected, may l take this opportunity to remind councils that this was not a general election and as such the sitting Mayors, deputy Mayors, chairpersons of committees and their deputies remain as constituted prior to the by-election,” Moyo’s 20 April memorandum addressed to all mayors and committee chairpersons reads in part.
“In terms of section 114 of the Local Government laws Amendment Act number 8 of 2016, a Mayor, deputy Mayor or councillor can only be removed from his position through an independent tribunal or through section 129 of the constitution.
“You are therefore advised that your councils cannot reconstitute the leadership architecture in place unless there is a vacancy,” Moyo wrote.
The letter was copied to the minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Oliver Chidau, deputy minister of Local Government Marian Chombo and permanent secretaries. Harare mayor Jacob Mafume, who has been suspended by Moyo on numerous occasions, told The NewsHawks that the minister’s directive is unlawful and will be defied.
“They want to maintain these committees of corruption,” Mafume said.
“They want to keep these committees and protect suspicious deals including the Pomona deal. He is afraid the new committees will invalidate the deals of corruption, investigate and cancel contracts done against councils.
“He is quoting the wrong section, section 96 of the Councils Act states that at any time, committees can be changed by the council. He is talking about chasing away of councillors, we have not done that, we have simply rotated council chairs to ensure people do not squat and create fiefdoms to facilitate corruption,” Mafume said.
Moyo had previously sought to ring-fence the filthy US$400 million waste-to-energy Pomona dumpsite deal from political scrutiny and possible future revocation by inserting clauses that would protect the transactions entered without following due process.
City of Harare signed the controversial deal with Geogenix BV represented by Miliad Lopa whose address was given as 520 H, 1017 EK, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Under the deal, vigorously supported by the MDC-T, Harare is set to get to generate up to 22 megawatts of electricity.
Nguwaya, who in 2020 was embroiled in a Covid-19 procurement scandal involving millions of dollars is also at the centre of the suspicious transaction that CCC councillors have threatened to cancel.
The signed contract is titled “Concession agreement to design, build and operate the Harare Pomona waste management facility and waste energy power plant and has a “Political force majeure” described in the agreement as: “acts or omissions by any government entity which occur after and which were not reasonably foreseeable on the date of signature of this agreement which have material adverse effect on (i) the ability of the contractor to observe and perform any of its rights and obligations and or (ii) the cost or the profits of such performance.” “Should City of Harare fail to procure the remedy of the Political Force Majeure Event prior to the expiry of the 30-day period, the parties shall discuss forthwith in order to reach a mutually satisfactory solution to restore the Contractor to the position it would have been in had such Political Force Majeure Event not occurred (including compensation for costs and loss of profits),” the agreement, signed on behalf of the City of Harare by acting town clerk Mabhena Moyo, read in part.
Another deal that is under threat is the suspicious financial and material assistance Harare under the MDC-T had pledged to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa under her national projects.
According to minutes of council’s Education, Health and Housing committee meeting of 29 July 2021 that The NewsHawks is in possession of, the local authority supported Mnangagwa’s Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba and Nharirire Yemusha project that has seen her going on a whirlwind meet-the-people tour in both urban and rural areas.
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