So an entire cyber city to cost US$500 million, yet a mere waste-to-energy plant demanding US$345 million!

Zimbabwe never ceases to amaze!

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

When one believes they have seen it all – there is always some shady stinking scheme right around the corner – intended for no other purpose, than to plunder and pillage the country’s national resources, for the benefit of no one else besides those in the ruling elitist privileged clique.

Is it, then, any wonder why, instead of celebrating what may, on the surface appear as “national development” – meant to bring desperately needed progress and prosperity to a country, bogged down by decades of ZANU PF kleptomaniac misrule and mismanagement, which have brought a once prosperous country to its knees – the general populace is always left skeptical and fearing for the worst, whenever the government announced new so-called “mega projects”?

Yesterday, 20th July 2022, was supposed to bring much joy, exhilaration and hope for the people of Zimbabwe, after President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa officially commissioned the construction of what is being touted as an innovative world-class Cyber City, and Zimbabwe’s new capital, in Mt Hampden, 18 kilometres northwest of Harare.

The project, which comes hot on the heels of the completion of another “mega project” – the new 1,000 seater Parliament of Zimbabwe building, constructed and funded by the Chinese government to the tune of US$160 million – will be built by UAE based Mulk International, costing the Zimbabwean taxpayer US$500 million.

I have no problem with development, and indeed, real development comes at a price, and we have to be ready to pay up, if we seriously desire to see our country move forward.

What I have a huge problem with, though, is when this said “development” leaves the already suffering citizenry worse-off than before, as prejudiced of their money through dirty devious deals.

I am not yet privy to the nitty-gritties of this Mt Hampden agreement with these Emiratis – but, there is already one thing standing out, like a sore thumb, with the figures being tossed around in these deals, which caught my attention, and peaked my interest.

If the construction of an entire Cyber City will cost the taxpayer US$500 million – why, then would it cost Harare residents US$350 million for a waste-to-energy plant, as was charged by the Delish Nguwaya fronted Geogenix BV, in the shady Pomona dump site deal, with an additional US$20,000 demanded on a daily basis to dump waste?

What manner of nonsense is that?

Can any sane person be seriously expected to believe that a waste-to-energy plant can cost such a staggering amount – which is more than half what is needed to build a whole new capital city?

In fact, based on investigations, an average waste-to-energy plant will hardly be above US$30 million – a figure that makes far much more sense.

So what is going on here?

Who stands to benefit from the pillaging of our country’s resources – with the latest news suggesting that, the local government minister, July Moyo, informed Harare Mayor, Jacob Mafume, that central government would now foot the bill, after facing stiff resistance from city fathers and mothers, as well as residents’ associations?

Whether the city of Harare pays for this clearly scandalous deal (which was fraught with irregularities, since it was never brought before tender processes, as stipulated by the law) – or, the national government takes over…the result is the same – the people of Zimbabwe will be poorer as a result.

Nothing good will ever come out of this deal!

Furthermore, in my interactions with a fellow activist, the question of who exactly should be at the forefront of the waste-to-energy agreement was raised.

Should it be the local government ministry, or the Harare City Council, or the ministry of energy – or, actually the electricity utility ZESA (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority), since this is undoubtedly a power generation project?

It should be noted that, city councils used to operate their own thermal power stations, yet were all transfered to ZESA.

So, why is the local government minister so obsessed with this Pomona waste-to-energy deal – an obsession we hardly witnessed in pushing for the provision of safe clean reliable water to residents, which is a far more pressing concern for urban dwellers?

As we speak now, the government of Zimbabwe is sitting on millions of dollars meant for critical water treatment projects for residents of Harare Metropolitan – which includes, Chitungwiza and Norton – yet, has absolutely no qualms dolling out millions towards this dubious waste-to-energy plant, as a cost of US$20,000 per day for the next 30 years!

Pafungeiwo ipapo!

Food for thought!

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator.  Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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