THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has given Local Government and Public Works Minister Hon. July Moyo two days to withdraw his orders to City of Harare (CoH) in which he asked the local authority to rescind its decision terminating the controversial waste management contract with Geogenix B.V.
Moyo on 7 July 2022 wrote a letter to CoH purportedly directing it to immediately rescind resolutions which it made in early June in relation to the establishment of the Pomona Waste to Energy Project.
Moyo said CoH’s resolutions do not take away the local authority’s responsibilities which were purportedly set out in the contract.
Among some of the resolutions, CoH suspended the Pomona Waste to Energy Project charging that it was signed without the local authority conducting its own feasibility study. CoH also appointed a special committee to investigate the Pomona Waste to Energy Project.
But in a letter written to Moyo on 18 July 2022, CHRA, which is represented by Archford Rutanhira of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said the Local Government and Public Works Minister must cease and desist from interfering with CoH’s operations and should withdraw his letter ordering the local authority not to terminate the purported contract between CoH and Geogenix B. V within 48 hours.
In the event of Moyo’s failure to comply with its demand, CHRA said it will be left with no option but to approach the courts to compel him to conform.
CHRA said by seeking to reverse CoH’s resolution on termination of the purported contract with Geogenix B. V, Moyo is not acting in the public interest or the interest of the inhabitants of the capital city as the local authority has constitutional rights to govern the area under its jurisdiction as well as the devolution of power hence central government should not interfere in that regard.
The residents association said it is scandalous for the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to be on the fore-front of protecting an agreement which binds CoH to hand over the Pomona dump site to Geogenix B. V for nothing for a period of 30 years and yet the local authority is expected to pay US$40 000 per day to dump trash which it would have collected at its own cost and delivered to its own dumpsite.
CHRA said the purported agreement in issue is for a period of 30 years yet the waste incinerators have an average lifespan of between 25 to 30 years meaning that under the Built Own Operate Transfer partnership model, the waste plant will be handed over to CoH when it is effectively useless.
The residents association said Moyo’s actions are all contrary to the Consumer Protection Act, which guarantees, among other things, the right to fair value for goods and services supplied as well as guarding against unfair, unreasonable and unjust contract terms.
Moyo’s ministry, CHRA said, has an insatiable appetite to overstep its statutory boundaries and descend into the arena solely under the jurisdiction of CoH, which creates a fertile ground for corruption, bad governance and interference with the local authority’s statutory obligations to deliver a service to its residents and Zimbabwe at large.
Moyo’s behaviour, CHRA said, is regrettable in a country which is founded on the principles of the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law, transparency, justice, accountability and responsiveness.
Already, the hearing and determination of an application for review of the contract between CoH and Geogenix B. V is pending at the High Court.
The applicants in the matter, who include CHRA, Harare North legislator Norman Markham, Borrowdale Residents and Ratepayers Association and Centre for Alternative Development Trust, and are represented by Denford Halimani of ZLHR, want the High Court to set aside the contract signed between CoH and Geogenix B. V for the establishment of Pomona Waste to Energy Project and for the contract to be declared a nullity and of no force and effect.
CHRA, Markham, Borrowdale Residents and Ratepayers Association and Centre for Alternative Development Trust argue that the decision by CoH to approve the contract with Geogenix B.V was grossly unreasonable, irrational and extremely detrimental to the interests of residents, stakeholders and ratepayers.