Bridget Mananavire 22 February 2017
HARARE – Transport minister Jorum Gumbo was yesterday grilled by
legislators over the granting of a road construction contract to a Chinese
Transport and Infrastructure parliamentary portfolio committee MPs asked
whether the ministry had put in place measures to guard against being
short-changed by a Chinese company that was doing the dualisation of the
This came after Gumbo had told the committee that Geiger International –
an Austrian company – would only finance the building of the road but a
Chinese company was going to do the actual road construction and handle
day-to-day operations of the road works.
“We as a ministry and as government awarded the dualisation of
Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu road to Geiger International, which is an
Austrian company and our work ends there.
“Second to that, we negotiated for a 40 percent local involvement in the
construction of that road and that 40 percent is not what ourselves as a
ministry will say give to so and so. The criteria to be used will be done
by the contractor, because they are the ones who must come up with a
project that will satisfy us, as far as government is concerned, we are
Bindura North MP Zanu PF Kenneth Musanhi said: “My concerns honourable
minister are that, are we not being short-changed, looking at all the
roads that were constructed by our local contractors and roads that have
been done over and over.
“I will give you an example of the road which was done by Chinese from
Harare to Bindura, it’s very dangerous with potholes. But after you leave
Bindura, there are hardly any potholes.
“Do we have proper supervision on the roads when they are being
Zanu PF Pumula MP Godfrey Malaba asked how government was going to guard
against a repeat of the mistakes made on the Plumtre-Mutare highway, which
is already deteriorating.
Gumbo told the MPs that government was going to be involved in the
supervision of the road construction.
“..this … road has an independent engineer who will supervise the works.
The ministry of Transport through the Department of Roads is also going to
be involved so that we maintain the standard of roads that we want,” Gumbo
Gumbo declined to avail a copy of the contract to the legislators saying
it was not the MPs’ duty to analyse contracts.
“The contract is confidential,” he said.
“We are hoping His Excellency will be able to do a ground-breaking
ceremony which will trigger commencement of the construction of this road
during the end of this month and first or second week of March.”