Inside Harare’s waste energy deal

Review and Mail Writer

Harare’s waste-to-energy deal worth over US$300 million came through after a number of consultations and due diligence with technical teams from the city council and experts from various Government departments and ministers visiting Europe to see work previously done by the investor, Review & Mail can report.

The Pomona Waste Management Facility and Waste-To-Energy Plant, as it is officially known, is a joint venture struck between Harare and Dutch firm, Geoginix BV.

Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding for the deal at the end of February following deliberations of the Joint Environmental Management, Finance and Development and Business Committee.

Since last year, due diligence was conducted to explore possibilities of the venture, that is set to be the first in Africa, and Government recently okayed the deal following Cabinet discussions.

Documents in our possession detail various agreements, memoranda and official communications that happened across various departments and disprove sensational reports by an online publication that the deal was shoved down the city’s throats by Local Government Minister July Moyo.

The report further sensationally claimed that President Mnangagwa’s son, Sean, waited inside a vehicle while Moyo railroaded approval by councillors, a dramatization that sources close to the developments laughed off.

A series of documents that we obtained shows that due process took place, and that as the deal sets to consummate in a few days, a number of issues raised by sceptics were addressed.

A letter written by Acting Town Clerk Phakamile Moyo on February 28 to Permanent Secretary of Local Government and Public Works, Zvinechimwe Churu, reveals that council approved the signing of the MoU with Geoginix after the Joint Environmental Management, Finance and Development and Business Committee gave a go-ahead.

The sitting of Council on the same date resolved to give the project the green light.

A fortnight earlier, Cabinet had approved the deal and made a number of undertakings to facilitate its smooth implementation, including recommending that Geoginix make arrangements with other local authorities around greater Harare to collect refuse as feedstock for the plant.

It has also emerged that Government promised Harare funds, under the devolution model, to purchase refuse trucks that would allow the council to efficiently collect garbage from all neighbourhoods.

This is contrary to assertions that the deal was “set up to fail” because of supply bottlenecks.

Chamber secretary, Warren Chiwawa, confirmed this, although he didn’t specify how many trucks the city could buy thanks to the cash injection.

Ahead of latest developments, last year Zimbabwean delegations went to Italy on a familiarisation tour of the work and technologies that Geoginix is importing for the project.I

n September a delegation of technocrats toured Italy and Albania and visited at least six sites.

They were: Watmore Goora assistant director of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency; Engineer Phakamile Moyo (Acting Town Clerk) Jonah Mushayi (senior manager, Zida), Grasiano Nyaguse (director, Ministry of Finance), Eng Edward Njoma (deputy director, Ministry of Local Government) and Eng Norman Karidza, (acting director, Harare City Council).

Others were: Eng Calvin Chigariro (acting chief engineer, Harare City Council), Keith Mapunza-Moyo (acting head, Harare City Council), Chiwawa and Fungai Mbetsa (director, Ministry of Local Government and Public Works).

In October, Moyo and his Energy counterpart, Zhaimu Soda as well as Eng Amos Marawa – the deputy chief secretary for National Flagship Programmes and Project in the President’s Office – also visited Italy.

In February, a delegation from the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcsting Services also toured.

Geoginix country representative Dilesh Nguwaya told Review & Mail that there was nothing sinister about the deal, as it was above board and made through a consultative process.

“This is actually good for the country and Harare in particular, as residents will live in a cleaner and disease-free environment while they will also get more electricity,” he said.“The Zimbabwe will actually have the biggest plant ever built by Geoginix.

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