Source: Code raps govt’s ‘skewed’ priorities – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 11, 2017
OPPOSITION parties affiliated to the Coalition of Democrats (Code) have rapped President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for prioritising non-core projects such as the new Parliament Building and rehabilitation of Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport at a time there are more sticking economic issues such as infrastructure collapse at public hospitals.
BY SILAS NKALA
Government recently signed agreements worth $213 million with China which will see the construction of a new Parliament Building, high-performance computer centre and rehabilitation of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
“Code is, however, appalled by unavailability of information and the lack of coherence regarding the country’s priorities by the current regime. We are concerned with why government is prioritising the construction of Parliament and the rehabilitation of Robert Mugabe International Airport,” the parties said in a joint statement.
“Investing in the construction of Parliament is not a priority, looking at the current state of affairs in the country where hospitals, water supply and other major service delivery centres are dilapidated and are in urgent need of upgrading.
“Zimbabwe has over the years accrued international debts under deals which were signed by a few individuals and whose terms and conditions remain unknown to the general public. Code implores the government to exhibit transparency regarding the terms and condition for these deals, considering that it is Zimbabwe which is inheriting those debts.”
Code said: “Failure to avail information regarding the deals is a deliberate ploy to sweep under the carpet pertinent issues on their feasibility, worth or benefit for Zimbabweans. It also raises our suspicions that the projects are over-priced, besides being prone to underhand dealings or corruption among various other misnomers.”
The Code said while appreciating the importance of foreign aid to developing countries, government should evaluate the relationship between foreign aid and economy.
“We implore the government to first establish the country’s priorities when entering into such deals. This is also premised on the understanding of the Chinese model of development, where the benefits are one-way or the other tilted in their favour. The Chinese model is where the materials, labour and skills all come from China leaving us with debts. If these deals are using this model, then we should reject them,” the statement said.
“When implementing these projects, it should be categorically stated that Zimbabweans should be employed while materials used should be locally sourced. This way the projects will have a beneficial multiplier effect.”
The Elton Mangoma-led coalition comprises of nine parties, namely, Zapu, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe, Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans United for Democracy Party, Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment, African Democratic Party, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn and ZimFirst.