Govt under fire over Egodini deal

BULAWAYO - Government has come under fire from a youth organisation here for attempting to derail the upgrade of a popular local terminus, Egodini.

This comes after the Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere dispatched the permanent secretary in his ministry, George Mlilo and Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo, last week to meet MDC-run council officials where they threatened to cancel the $60 million Egodini terminus upgrade project and order a re-tender.

This followed allegations that some senior council officials, particularly deputy mayor Gift Banda, were linked to the South African civil engineering firm Terraccotta Private Limited, which won the tender.

The company won the tender ahead of two other local companies.

With over 1 200 people from the city set to be employed when construction at the site kicks off at the beginning of next month, the Education and Unemployed Youth Forum of Zimbabwe Trust (EDUYFZ) has challenged government attempts to derail the project.

“We as EDUYFZ, we stand with a heavy laden heart that is filled with grief and despair,” organisation director Zenzo Nyoni said.

“The source of our anguish has its roots deeply embedded in the move by government to try and halt such big project that is likely to change many people’s lives in the city where thousands are out of employment.”

Nyoni said it was time Zanu PF behaved like a governing party which was elected by the people to represent their interests and not selfish personal ends.

“We believe they should put aside political differences, moreso, we have been promised over 2 million jobs by Zanu PF under its ZimAsset, the jobs we have not seen to date as youth,” Nyoni said.

Nyoni questioned why it took so long for the government to generate interest in the project, yet the tender process was something that has been publicised on several occasions since 2012.

“The ministry has been silent all along, what then made them come out in the last minute to block such an initiative.

“Government should stop meddling in this because this is tantamount to undermining the mandate of people of Bulawayo as it is them who elected the councillors into office,” he said.

While the youth organisation indicated that they do not condone corruption, “our plea goes to the Moyo, Mlilo and Kasukuwere to act as beacons of light for the youth and throw their weight behind this noble cause.”

The upgrading of the terminus, which was initially meant to start in January 2014, has experienced a number of false starts with both parties reportedly engaged in a series of protracted negotiations over the project.