Chombo okays Easipark deal


Local Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo this week summoned Harare City Council to seek an explanation on the controversial Easipark deal that has sparked furore at Town House.

Chombo met acting Harare mayor Emmanuel Chiroto, town clerk Tendai Mahachi and members of the council’s business committee in a bid to find a lasting solution to the problem.

Chiroto confirmed the development.

“We held a meeting with Chombo and he said Upfumi Kuvadiki should get something to do far from Easipark,” he said.

“He (Chombo) was told of the city’s plans to sign a shareholders’ agreement by May 30 which was resolved by the business committee and adopted at a full council meeting,” Chiroto said.

The meeting came after Upfumi Kuvadiki, a pro-Zanu PF group, invaded Easipark offices early last month and claimed they had taken over the South African company.

Chombo last night confirmed the meeting and said he wanted to ascertain what the problem was with the Easipark deal.

He said he told the city fathers to speed up the signing of the shareholders’ agreement so that the city “is not run by a foreigner”.

“I just wanted to know how they did it and what the hullaballoo was all about. They explained to me and I had no problem, but I told them to sign a shareholders’ agreement which was not there in the first place and that it has to be in the interest of the public,” Chombo said.

Councillors who attended the meeting said they convinced Chombo that the City of Harare would “inherit” a lot from Easipark after the five-year deal.

“The bottom line is we want their knowledge and expertise that we will inherit after five years,” said one councillor who attended the meeting, but refused to be named. Councillors said they were happy with the outcome of the meeting with Chombo.

The Harare-Easipark deal had become a source of anxiety in the city with pressure groups arguing that it had become more of a South African business, rendering locals irrelevant.

However, the city council resolved to have the shareholders’ agreement by May 30 to change the uniforms by removing South African colours and to alter the management from being wholly Easihold.