Local Government minister July Moyo has vowed that yesterday’s resolution by Harare city councillors to block the controversial US$344 million Pomona waste-to-energy deal will not stop the project from proceeding.
Citizens’ Coalition for Change councillors, led by Mayor Jacob Mafume, resolved to suspend the controversial deal while setting up a special committee to investigate details of the deal.
Moyo argued that all procedures were followed and the council meeting could not supersede Cabinet approval.
“All the recommendations from this process went to Cabinet, which is the highest executive authority, for approval and a lower organ cannot violate the principle of subsidiarity. Following Cabinet’s approval, the joint venture agreement was closely analysed by Government lawyers, including the Attorney General’s office before it was signed,” said Moyo
“We condemn this conduct which amounts to cheap political grandstanding at the expense of the country and it is therefore necessary to state that the project will not be stopped unless done so by judicial action. Again, we state that the matter is subjudice and that some members were mentioned in the legal papers.”
Community Water Alliance (CWA) one of the organisations challenging the deal said Moyo’s statement remains his opinion and should formally inform council.
“The Minister has not quoted any statue to support his claim. It remains an opinion that Council can ignore. Take note that he issued a public statement and he did not write a formal letter to City of Harare. If he ends on issuing a press statement, City of Harare should proceed with their resolutions.
“If he has any legal basis for the press statement he should write a formal letter to City of Harare. Simple basics of running government dictates that no tier of government is addressed through press statements. Tiers of government are addressed through correspondences,” said Mudzingwa
Combined Harare Residents (CHRA) acting director Reuben Akili said the Minister’s statements were a clear violation of the Constitution.
“As an association that represents Harare residents we are worried by the conduct of the Minister of Local Government of trying to reverse the resolutions made to suspend the controversial waste to energy deal. As we have always said chapter 14 of the Constitution provides for devolution and it also gives these local authorities the right to self-Governance and the moment when you see the whole cabinet going to decide on a project that is implemented by a local authority then there is something wrong. It is a clear violation of the constitution especially on devolution.
“We have also heard the Minister saying the local authority has violated the principle of subsidiarity in fact it is them that violated the principle of subsidiarity by deciding as a cabinet on a project that should have been decided by the local authority. We are worried by the central government interference in local authority and this also weakens councillors on the oversight role which they have on technocrats and that is very dangerous and it breeds corruption and haemorrhage resources of our city through illegal activities, this the whole Minister comes and try to be a councillor and a Mayor is unacceptable.
“The Minister must play his role but also appreciate that it is the City of Harare that entered into contract with Geogenix not Cabinet. It is the same local authority that knows the implications of this and at the other hand we don’t expect him to continue poke his nose in this decision. We stand with the City of Harare on this decision because we petitioned the local authority to set up an investigating committee and suspend the contract,” said Akili