By Michelle Chifamba
A Harare City Council and European Union funded biogas project targeted at recycling hazardous waste produced from the Mbare Musika vegetable market and produce cheap and safe electricity for the local community has failed four years after it was commissioned.
In 2017, when the project was commissioned, City of Harare said the project was 90 percent complete.
The project, earmarked for Matapi-Shawasha areas of Mbare, was to create a sustainable and safer environment that would address the garbage issue that has affected the community, increasing the threats of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria.
The initiative also targeted at providing for a safer and cheap source of electricity to Mbare residents.
Former Harare City Council town clerk, Josephince Ncube is on record saying the bio-digester was to produce 1 000kVA of power.
Mbare residents who spoke to Open Council, say they have been disappointed by the manner in which the project has failed to take off, especially when they were looking forward towards having their own electricity generated through the biogas project.
“We believed this project would save us from high electricity tariffs since it was a homegrown project. Unfortunately, like any other promises we have been given before it has turned out that it was a vote buying tactic by the politicians,” Priscilla Mukunzvi said.
Mbare Musika vegetable market produces piles of uncollected dump and rotting garbage.
“We have always known that the city council cannot keep up with waste generated here. All I had celebrated for when this project commenced was that it was going to get rid of countless heaps of garbage that has turned Mbare into a stinky neighborhood,” Florence Dimingo said.
Europen Union ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen could not give a comment on what could has stalled the project.
He simply stated that the project commenced before his tenure.
However, a member of the audit committee who preferred anonymity revealed that council misused funds in a bid to exploit more from the European Union.
“I was once a member of the audit committee during the said period and we established that the European Union availed all the funds to complete the project but council misused the money and went back demanding for more,” the source revealed.
City of Harare spokesperson Micheal Chideme was not available for comment.