The Sunday News
MASVINGO residents have raised concern over the way the council has awarded a solar street lights tender to a Christian youth group saying council procedures were not followed.
Council has sealed a $4-million solar street lighting deal with Christian-based youth organisation, Joshua Generation that will see nearly 580 solar street lights installed in the city by December this year. The local authority has already issued the organisation with a 15-year street lighting licence.
Joshua Generation, which is working on the project with Old Mutual and an unnamed Chinese company, will install the street lights for free and recoup their costs through advertising space on the street lights.
Work on the project has already begun with digging of trenches for the initial 28 double armed solar street lights on Robert Mugabe Way.
Residents’ representatives told Sunday News that there was no transparency in the way the tender was awarded to the group and called on the local authority to afford potential bidders equal opportunities.
Masvingo Residents Trust (MRT) co-ordinator Mr Prosper Tiringindi claimed council acted unprofessionally by awarding solar lighting tender without following procedures. He said there are many companies with the capacity to do the same job that they deserve to be granted the same opportunity.
“As residents’ representatives, we are not happy with the way the solar lighting tender was handled by council. Under normal circumstances all tenders should be advertised through the media and everyone willing to partake be given an equal opportunity to bid. As it is we only learnt that the tender has been won by Joshua Generation yet we did not see the advertisement,” said Mr Tiringindi.
He said while the need to empower youths cannot be emphasised there is sole need for transparency in the awarding of council tenders to avoid problems related to lack of capacity.
Mr Tiringindi cited the abandoned Mucheke Trunk sewer project whose completions was scheduled for 2012 but has turned into a white elephant as it emerged that the contractor had no capacity to do the project.
Masvingo Urban Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) spokesperson Mr Godfrey Mutimba said the process was secretly done and residents are concerned with such developments.
However, Town Clerk Mr Adolf Gusha rubbished the claims that procedures were not followed saying council will not lose sleep over people who do not want development in the city.