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Pomona project won’t benefit Harare residents

The government of Zimbabwe has guaranteed the implementation of the joint venture waste-to-energy project between the City of Harare and Geogenix BV worth about US$344 million over 30 years.

This article examines the Pomona project, which aims to establish a waste-to-energy plant in 36 months of project implementation and is expected to be fully functional in the 5th year.

An estimated 16- 22 megawatts of electricity is set to be produced from the plant.

The government of Zimbabwe has guaranteed the implementation of the joint venture waste-to-energy project between the City of Harare and Geogenix BV worth about US$344 million over 30 years.

Harare City Council has an estimated population of 2.5 million people.

This project is designed to address the waste management challenges being experienced across Harare’s 46 wards due to machinery breakdown and a depleted refuse collection fleet.

The City of Harare has been unable to regularly collect garbage from residential and industrial areas as well as from the central business district.

Muswere and Rodic-Wiersma (2004) bemoaned the unsustainable vehicle maintenance system where the refuse collection vehicles are operated until they finally breakdown, at which point costly repairs are required.

The 2004 findings still obtain in 2022 when the City of Harare is supposed to be focused on achieving a world class city status by 2025. Consequently, heaps of uncollected garbage are visible in communities, especially street corners, open spaces and shopping centres with no indication that the City of Harare will be able to overcome this challenge.

Residents of Harare have been at loggerheads with the City of Harare over its continued charging ratepayers for refuse collection which is collected at irregular intervals.

The establishment of a Waste to Energy plant at Pomona Dumpsite is not going to happen soon, but at the latest, in five years.

The data was collected through document analysis and interviews with a waste management expert in Harare who was chosen for his known expertise working with the City of Harare.

This article adds more light on the controversial waste to energy 2 project, which was largely unexplained to members of the public with the media pursuing a highly partisan slant in its reportage.

The state-controlled media is fully supportive of the whole deal while the private-controlled media has given wide coverage to the sentiments of the opposition to castigate the deal.

The little information available in the public domain from City of Harare and the government show that the project was initially conceived by the City of Harare.

However, national government bureaucrats and policymakers deliberately frustrated the initiative to bring in Geogenix BV.

According to the concession agreement to design, build and operate the Pomona waste management facility and waste-to-energy power plant signed between the City of Harare and Geogenix, the Pomona landfill dumpsite “shall be handed over to the contractor free of charge and against no payment of any fees, tariffs or taxes whatsoever.”

This means that the City of Harare would surrender its ownership and control of the Pomona dumpsite to Geogenix without receiving any payment.

The problem with this arrangement is that the City of Harare owned Pomona on behalf of the ratepayers of Harare.

Losing it as part of the 30-year deal is not beneficial to ratepayers in any way.

Neither the City of Harare nor the government of Zimbabwe consulted the residents of Harare concerning the waste-to-energy project with Geogenix BV.

In light of these developments, by the end of the 30-year term, the waste-to energy plant at Pomona Dumpsite would be past its lifespan and would not be of much benefit  to the City of Harare.

Therefore, one may argue that the project is just extractive and exploitative without any tangible benefits for the ratepayers.

The decision to suspend and investigate the Pomona waste-to-energy project by the City of Harare is largely symbolic as the government has no intention of abandoning Geogenix BV at this stage.

Ratepayers were not consulted, and therefore are categorical in their rejection of the project.

The City of Harare has the potential to revive its waste management services if only they implement the integrated solid waste management strategy developed through stakeholders’ engagement.

The latest crisis over the Pomona deal with Geogenix BV would not be an issue in 2022 if the City of Harare had completed the construction of the Mbare biogas digester which was constructed at an estimated cost of US$500 000-00 partly sourced from the European Union.

The delayed implementation of devolution by the government of Zimbabwe is significantly contributing to the hostile relationship that exists between the City of Harare and the national government.

The constitution of Zimbabwe intended for cooperation among the three tiers of government rather than the prevailing hostile competition for power and authority.

Devolution should be implemented to increase the role of citizens in the management and governance of local authorities. –Harare Residents

Chinese embassy out of order for threatening newspaper T

he Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) is deeply concerned with the heightened threats against The Standard, a privately-owned local news weekly, by the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe.

The Chinese Embassy, in a statement issued on  July 11, 2022 threatened to take “strong counter measures” against the newspaper and a local media development agency, the Information for Development Trust (IDT).

In what amounts to a direct attack on media freedom, the Chinese Embassy issued these threats on the back of a series of stories critical of the operations of some Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe published in the Standard in partnership with IDT.

While it is not peculiar that any individual, organisation or even state can have issues with aspects in part or whole of a news story, it is unacceptable to charge against the media with unspecified actions.

Zimbabwe’s Constitution protects the practice of journalism and related freedoms. The Constitution establishes a media commission among the institutions supporting democracy in the country.

At an operational level, the government of Zimbabwe has placed on record its commitment to a free media enterprise anchored on a co-regulatory framework and reform agenda.

This is the level at which Zimbabwe holds press freedom sacrosanct. It is a value that the global family of nations ascribe to in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights, which provides for media freedom without interference.

MAZ is thus taken aback by the intention of a foreign state, in the mould of a global power to counter a national media outlet with unspecified measures. It is more so worrying that the threats are issued without exhausting legal remedies provided for by the host nation.

Outside this diplomatic imperative, there are democratic ways in which any grievances against the media can be tabled.

The media actors concerned professionally associate with other organisations, both public and private, most of whom subscribe to a code of conduct enforced by a self-regulatory body, the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ).

The Standard is also accredited by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) which have a constitutional obligation to regulate the media.

The Embassy of China in Zimbabwe is therefore advised to take professional routes towards seeking redress, if they feel aggrieved, rather than issuing such chilling threats on the media. –The MAZ Secretariat


Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) on Friday celebrated World Youth Skills Day, whose theme this year is ‘Transforming Youth Skills for the future’.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2014, declared July 15 as a day to celebrate and revel the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. It also seeks to emphasize the importance of training young individuals with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.

Since then, World Youth Skills Day has provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organisations, policy-makers and development partners. Young people, more so those in Africa are faced with numerous development challenges such as poverty, unemployment, child marriages, drug abuse, sexual violence, climate change hazards and exclusion from governance processes.

In Zimbabwe, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, youths have found themselves on the periphery of economic recovery efforts despite them making up 67% of the population. Rural youths form the majority of the 61% of those that are economically vulnerable that have been aid recipients according to the Zimvac report of 2022.

The lot of urban youths has worsened in recent times owing to drug abuse arising from frustrations of unemployment and general economic morass. According to statistics from Active Youth Zimbabwe, a drug treatment and rehabilitation organisation in Bulawayo, Ingutsheni Central Hospital is attending to an average of 250 patients per month and that the average age of substance use initiation is between 13 and 14 years old.

Equally, in Masvingo, urban councillors have raised alarm at the drug abuse levels amongst youths in wards 2 and 4, this was revealed at a full council meeting recently where a crackdown was ordered on peddlers of illicit substances. Child marriages in the country have become all too common owing to increasing poverty levels and school dropouts. As of 2019, approximately 1 in 3 girls in Zimbabwe are married before the age of 18.

As VISET, we have sought to work with like minded organisations to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship amongst youths through programmes that give training and mentorship. –VISET 


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