On 22 May 2022, the media broke the news of what has become known as the Pomona Waste Gate Scandal in which massive corruption is alleged in the awarding of a waste processing contract to an Albanian company Geogenix BV. It is alleged that the company is now charging the Harare City Council USD40 000 per day to dump waste at the Pomona Dumpsite. The reports allege, among other things, flouting of procurement procedures in violation of the Procurement Act, interference with the due process, possible corruption and abuse of power in violation of the criminal laws of Zimbabwe.
It is believed the Harare City Council deal with Geogenix BV, now operating under the name Geo Pomona Waste Management Private Limited, will cost the Harare ratepayers up to 300 million United States Dollars. Harare Mayor, His Worship Jacob Mafume, has called the agreement “a deal with the devil.” It is understood one of the Harare City Councillors, Markham, has approached the High Court challenging the deal.
While a lot of the facts regarding this matter are still coming to light, the Harare residents have started feeling the impact of this deal. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) believes that, from the available information, there is sufficient suspicion to warrant suspension of the deal and an immediate investigation.
Zimbabweans are already paying dearly for corruption that is benefitting the elite. While the Harare City Council is already failing in its basic duties, imposing an additional burden on residents is rather taking the people for granted. ZimRights is concerned that at a time when the people of Zimbabwe are struggling to make ends meet, government officials have the audacity to keep milking the same struggling masses with unmitigated arrogance contrary to the principles of public administration and leadership as enshrined in Chapter 9 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
This Pomona Waste Gate Scandal is serious assault on the people of Zimbabwe and an unacceptable trial of patience on a people that have had to tolerate a lot from the elite. Chapter 9 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe sets out the principles for public administration. These principles include a high level of ethics, accountability, and transparency. Time and again, these principles have been disregarded as leaders line up their pockets at the expense of the suffering population. The Pomona Waste Gate Scandal is one in a line of many cases of obscene looting of public resources.
In the light of this, ZimRights calls for the following:
- The immediate suspension of the deal with Geo Pomona Waste Management Private Limited and restoration of normal services at the site.
- A thorough investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) of the agreement, paying attention to all the applicable laws of Zimbabwe and the principles of public financial management outlined in section 298 of the Constitution as well as principles of public administration and leadership outlined in section 194 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
ZimRights also calls upon elected leaders in the local authorities to treat their elected offices with sanctity knowing that their duty is to serve the people of Zimbabwe and not to enrich themselves. ZimRights calls on all political parties whose members maybe implicated in corrupt practices to take decisive action to hold such leaders to account. ZimRights calls on the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to be immediately seized with this matter and give it the seriousness it deserves.
It is our hope as the human rights community that the concerns raised by the residents of Harare in this matter will be treated seriously with utmost regard to the said principle of public administration and leadership.
Issued by the ZimRights Information Department.