The deal between Zimbabwe and Botswana to rehabilitate Bulawayo Power Station has been stalled by the Attorney General’s (AG) Office which is reportedly holding onto the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for almost a year.
The power station has the capacity to generate 100 megawatts.
AG Johannes Tomana however said the delay had nothing to with his office.
State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo revealed the AG’s stance on Thursday at a public dialogue meeting for water and energy, organised by Habakkuk Trust in Bulawayo.
He said the city was not supposed to suffer from heavy load-shedding because it had a thermal power station.
“There is absolutely no reason why Bulawayo residents should have such a headache with electricity when they have the Bulawayo Power Station.
That station needs to be rehabilitated and Botswana agreed to do that for us,” Moyo said.
But Tomana said the minister was falsely accusing his office.
“It’s a case of somebody drawing us into an issue that is not our baby,” Tomana said on Thursday night.
“He is not serious when he stands up in public and says he has failed to execute his duties because the agreement is with the AG’s Office.
It’s a very unfortunate excuse to give to people.”
Tomana added: “All I do is to help them so that the agreements are in compliance with our laws.
When they do an MOU it’s authorised by the government through a process that involves the Public Agreement Committee of Cabinet.
“It goes to Cabinet Committee on Legislation then to Cabinet.
If it’s accepted then corrections are made if need be.
Then it goes to the line ministry.
The only role of the AG’s Office is to draft what they want drafted.”
Moyo said had it not been for the AG’s delay in dealing with the matter, the city’s power station would have been operational.
“Zimbabwe and Botswana signed an MoU between the two countries but that document is still being held at the AG’s Office where it has been since the beginning of the year. It is almost a year now,” Moyo said.
He said the AG’s Office was supposed to carry out quality control and to make sure that the document complied with the country’s laws.
“The AG’s Office is supposed to carry out quality control and also make sure that the document is in line with the country’s laws.
However that cannot take a year to do.
“The AG’s Office is obviously stalling progress on rehabilitating the power station,” he said.
Moyo said there was need for Government to ensure the country had enough power.
“If we get rid of the corruption at Chiadzwa, then we are able to use those resources to make sure that Hwange and Kariba are operating at full capacity.
If you talk about Zesa and leave out the Chiadzwa diamonds, then your talk is incomplete, because this country has enough resources to take care of all these issues,” he said.
He said if proceeds from the diamond fields were enough to rehabilitate energy sources in the country.
Last November, Zimbabwe and Botswana signed an MoU to refurbish the coal-fired Bulawayo Power Station that has not been operating for the past 11 years.
Part of the agreement was that Botswana would provide $10 million for the refurbishment and in return get 45 megawatts for three years while the remainder would be channelled to Zimbabwe.