The ‘Joshua Nkomo Expressway’, as it is known, is meant to link the Harare International Airport and the city centre and has been valued at US$80 million, despite a similar 2001 project in Chegutu covering 77km costing US$19 million. Adding to suspicion is that the airport road is actually 20km shorter than the one built in Chegutu.
Sources accuse Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and former Harare Commission chairperson Michael Mahachi of corruptly engineering the deal, that saw Ukrainian company Augur Investments being awarded the tender.
When the MDC took over council Mahachi was appointed a ‘special interest councilor’ by Chombo before he resigned a month later to become the project manager for Augur Investments.
The new council run by the MDC has already told its workers taking part in the current construction to stop doing so, until a full investigation into the tender process has been completed.
This year Minister Chombo issued a directive rescinding this council resolution but the council has defied this. Only workers from the contractor are still on site.
Harare residents have slammed the project saying it’s hardly a priority given they are going for days without water and the city would be better advised to focus on improving the water infrastructure.
Meanwhile Tsvangirai used the meeting with the councilors to warn them against engaging in corrupt activities. This follows a drastic decision a few weeks ago to suspend the MP for Zengeza East, Alexio Musundire, over violence charges, and a similar suspension of former mayor Israel Marange, and the entire Chitungwiza executive, over allegations of corruptly selling residential stands.
Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel the MDC was serious about rooting out corrupt officials and Tsvangirai’s meeting with the councilors was part of the wider campaign to emphasize to their members the importance of not being found on the wrong side of the law. ‘We were elected by the people, to serve the people and not our stomachs,’ Chamisa told us.
He said all party members, MP’s and councilors are being told the same message and the ‘anti-corruption drum beat was growing louder. SW Radio Africa