Harare Residents Call Upon Transparency Towards the Latest City Debt

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Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has called for transparency and accountability on the administration of the US$868 million deals to be signed between the city council and Chinese firms.

Harare City Council, on Monday, approved the signing of commercial contracts with SinoHydro Corporation Limited, China Gozhouba Group Company (CGGC), China Machinery and Engineering Corporation and China Geo-Engineering Corporation for water and wastewater projects.

Zimbabwe Government through the Finance Ministry is expected to assist in funding the projects as the HCC cannot adequately fund the projects.

The contracts are signed at a time when water delivery is a challenge in Harare, with suburbs going for days without the life-saving liquid.

CHRA says the call for transparency and accountability comes in the wake of previous deals worth millions of dollars have failed before.

“This is a matter of concern considering that the government failed to effectively manage the previous loan hence the worsening water crisis,” the statement says.

“The issue of the US$144 Million Chinese loan is a case in point following revelations of misuse of the first US$72 million that had been released to council.”

“What followed after the release of the US$72 Million was a blame game between officials and consequently, the remaining USD$72 Million was reportedly used to service a government debt.”

CHRA implores both the Government and HCC to follow Zimbabwe’s constitution in terms of loans.

The residents association says the government has to comply with section 300 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that “Within sixty days after the Government has concluded a loan agreement or guarantee, the Minister responsible for finance must cause its terms to be published in the Gazette.”

City fathers were referred to Section 62 (1) of the Constitution which states that “Every Zimbabwean citizen or permanent resident, including juristic persons and the Zimbabwean media, has the right of access to any information held by the State or by any institution or agency of government at every level, in so far as the information is required in the interests of public accountability.”

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