Furore over $144m Harare water deal

HARARE - Harare residents groups have described the $144 million water deal as a dodgy development meant to benefit Town House managers and the Chinese government.

Precious Shumba, the Harare Residents Trust director, accused the town clerk Tendai Mahachi of keeping ratepayers in the dark about the funds extended by the Chinese Export and Import Bank for improving water delivery.

“The HRT wishes to express outrage at the arrogant attitude being displayed by Mahachi who has demonstrated reluctance to reveal the details of the deal,” Shumba said.

“Residents do not know the rate of interest the loan will accrue, and the repayment period.

“The Chinese experts will gobble a bigger chunk of the money, meaning the Chinese have created their own employment at the expense of Harare residents.

“Let this deal be revealed in full and residents must have copies of this loan agreement in order to educate each other on how they will repay it.

“Everything around the deal is being hurried before the elected councillors gain control of the council’s affairs, meaning that the town clerk is desperate to speed up engagement of people and make certain significant decisions in the absence of elected councillors, who will find it extremely difficult to reverse bad decisions.”

According to Mahachi, out of the expected 46-member Chinese team, 19 engineers are already in the country to partner the local authority’s technical team at the Morton Jaffray, Warren Control, Alex Park and Letombo pump station.

Shumba said Harare city should have taken advantage of locally available expertise if it was committed to transparency and accountability throughout the four-year project.

“Zimbabwe’s tertiary institutions have churned out competent engineers and other technocrats to handle any technology,” he said.

“The suspicions that we have are that the council management handling this deal are afraid of being exposed if locals handle the equipment and other technical areas of the project, so they trust that the Chinese nationals being brought in to work on this project will keep silent.”

Tendai Muchada, the Combined Harare Residents Trust (Chra) programmes manager, said the deal was murky.

“When this decision to engage the engineers was made, this was at a time council was under the caretaker commission led by Alfred Tome, which means that there were no elected councillors to provide checks and balances to the whole deal,” Muchada said.

“It also contravenes the mantra that we have the highest literacy rate in Africa and poses as an insult to the thousands of engineers we have in Zimbabwe. This also means that the money in itself is meant to benefit the Chinese and not us Zimbabweans in any way.

“The City of Harare cannot insult us to say that the local people will provide labour at Morton Jaffery being guided by the Chinese, especially with their history of workplace abuse. We are slowly turning into a Chinese colony under the guise of aid.”

Harare paid a stipulated 10 percent pre-implementation fund. Residents’ representatives called on councillors to demand answers.

Comments (9)

Zimbabwe has gone to the dogs when it will come back I don't know. Tichafamba iyesu.

maita - 24 September 2013

Muri mapenzi chamurikuda imvura here kana kuti fame. Mvura yoshaikwa zvaipa Mvura yogadziriswa zvaipa futi. Ngavauye maAmericans ka nemaBritish vagadzire tione. Shut up and learn from team zanu pf

MAPENZI - 24 September 2013

Surely mdct people are now all sick in mind. We residents of Harare dont even want to know about the deals. What we want is water and not just water but clean and undisrupted supply. So you think the Town clerk was supposed to wait for the outcome of the courts concerning your petitions sacrificing people's health? Shuwa mawe kupenga chete. Munofunga kuti kufadza vanhu muchitaura zvinobhowa. Chakurwadzayi ndechekuti ZANUPF yawe kudeliver as per its promises to the people. Maifunga kuti ingori campaign, saka mawekurwadziwa becoz you know kuti you failed during the past years you have been in control of the city. And you know kuti zvichakubatayi pamaelections a2018. Aah! manje hazvichinji bhora mberi TEAM ZANUPF.

Takeiteasy Marcaves - 24 September 2013

iwe precious shumba do you represent mdc t or harare residents keep your dirty mouth closed we are not sleeping trying to get water and then some people are trying to fix the problem you talk shit for the past decade mdc t was on the driving why did they fix the problem , please dont play politics with the povo wwater is more important than anything

KASI - 24 September 2013

33 years after churning out hordes of engineers and with all that cash from diamonds do we really need a mere $144million from the chinese. Water is so basic that revenue from diamonds should prioritize this area surely. Not is zanu pf's book.

magame - 24 September 2013

I'm glad that this project is finally underway. As long as the job is done professionally and expediently it doesn't matter that the Chinese have the contract. What matters is the benefit which will be enjoyed by millions of Zimbabweans when this project is completed.

Tatenda - 25 September 2013

HRT is right...finding out the cost is the first step in our quest for accountability as regard how our money is spent. We cant just say as long as the job is done everything is OK. How many times have we been down this road???

gutter poet - 25 September 2013

Yes it is not just about the availability and accessibility water but also transparency and who in the end is the biggest beneficiary in these murky deals? Why are we churning street roaming graduates from out Universities who can provide this service and hire second class engineers from China when ours are best sort globally? For some of us on this forum who have had the occasion to see some of the work done by Chinese in this country it is an eyesore. Some of the hospitals constructed by the Chinese are already falling apart before occupation and you go on to trust them with the water system? Vanhu vachanwa dhodho and what I can bet with my life is that all substandard equipment will be brought in for the this project and since most of the Zimbos will be general laborers they will not be able to detect this. Mugabe has mortgaged this country to these racist dogs who have no regard for blacks. God have mercy on us.

vongai - 26 September 2013

pane ari kudyawo ipapo

bhutsuyatota - 26 September 2013

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