The Pomona Waste to Energy deal saga has taken a new twist, with Local Government Minister July Moyo moving to reverse a Harare City Council resolution directing Town Clerk Phakamile Moyo to withdraw his affidavit opposing the court application by concerned residents opposed to the controversial contract.
Harare City councillors last week passed a resolution to suspend the waste to energy deal pending an investigation and directed that the Town Clerk should withdraw his affidavit.
The deal was signed by MDC Alliance councillors at a time Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors had been recalled by the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-A.
However, on being re-elected in the March by-elections, the CCC councillors immediately made a resolution to nullify the deal, saying it had not been properly reached, accusing Moyo of coercing the MDC-A councillors into approving it.
Harare City Council has since filed an application at the High Court seeking the reversal of the US$344 million deal awarded to which if continued, will see the local authority paying US$22 000 per day for waste management services.
But in a directive to the City of Harare dated 16 June, 2022, Moyo said while the local authority was at liberty to carry out the investigation as resolved and challenge the legality of the deal, he was concerned about the resolution directing the Town Clerk to withdraw his affidavit.
“What concerns me, however, is an associated resolution which reads as follows; ‘That the council instruct the Acting Town Clerk to withdraw the Affidavits filed by council with the court opposing the Court case by the residents challenging the Pomona Waste to Energy Project.
“In my view, the above resolution unnecessarily interferes with the matter which is already subjudice. The resolution is also, in my view, premature to the extent that the investigation to be carried out is not yet complete,” Moyo wrote.
Moyo said he was making the directive in terms of Section 14(1) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15).
He said there was no suggestion in the resolution that the Acting Town Clerk was not either not authorised or incompetent to file the affidavit.
“In my view, therefore, the resolution in question was made with a view to subverting the process of the court and is therefore, in very bad faith and cannot be allowed,” he said, adding council should directly approach the court to explain why it wanted the affidavit withdrawn.
“I accordingly, direct, in terms of Section 14(1) of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 that council immediately rescinds the resolution cited above which seeks to withdraw the opposing affidavit filed by Council in the pending court proceedings. The resolution in my view, is in bad faith and meant to subvert the process of the court, and is therefore, not in the public interest,”
The Pomona deal, which was endorsed by cabinet, has attracted interest from different quarters.
In one of his articles in a local paper, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba threatened Harare mayor Jacob Mafume with arrest for opposing Cabinet’s decision to endorse the deal.