Statement on the Public Interest Litigation Case Against Honorable Minister of Finance and Economic Development and Others

Community Water Alliance and partner organizations here present,

United as institutions working towards improved social service delivery in Zimbabwe;

Gravely Concerned by financial transparency and accountability questions emanating from the failure by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Honorable Mthuli Ncube to honor his constitutional obligations in relation to Public Finance and Debt Management as provided for under Section 300(3) and (4)(a) of the Constitution which states that “within sixty days after the Government has concluded a loan agreement or guarantee, the Minister responsible for finance must cause its terms to be published in the Gazette” and that “the Minister responsible for finance must at least twice a year, report to Parliament on the performance of loans raised and guaranteed by the State” respectively;

Outraged, by reported securing of loans purportedly involving African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the repayments done in violation of Section 327(3) 2 which states that “an agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organizations or entities and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe, does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament”;

Acknowledging progressive provisions of the Constitution in particular Section 298 on principles of public finance as well as provisions of the Public Debt Management Act 3 in particular Sections 18(2), 29 and 30 which are meant to ensure that there is full and timeous disclosure of all loans and guarantees entered by the Government;

Worried as tax-payers who contribute to the fiscus through payment of Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Intermediate Money Transfer Tax, that we are being short changed on service delivery issues because of lack of accountability and transparency in the administration of public finances;

Following spirited efforts seeking answers on the above matters as expressed through Community Water Alliance correspondences dated 12 November 2018 and 25 February 2019 as well as petitions presented to Parliament of Zimbabwe dated 10 December 2018; which have not been responded and addressed;

We thus have filed papers at the High Court of Zimbabwe 4 against the Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and African Export-Import Bank seeking the following:

  1. An order declaring Minister of Finance and Economic Development’s failure to publish the terms of all the loans and guarantees concluded by the Government of Zimbabwe from January 2017 to date within sixty (60) days of their conclusion to be a violation of the obligation imposed under Section 300(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and Section 18(2) of the Public Debt Management Act;
  2. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development be compelled to publish the terms of all the loans and guarantees concluded by the Government of Zimbabwe from January 2017 to date within fourteen (14) days of service of our order;
  3. An order that all loan agreements or facilities concluded between the Government of Zimbabwe through the agency of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and African Export-Import Bank, in terms of which fiscal obligations were imposed on the Government of Zimbabwe, are not binding on Zimbabwe until they have been approved by Parliament;
  4. An interdict from making any further payments from the fiscus of Zimbabwe by Minister of Finance and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to the African Export-Import Bank for any purported obligations arising out of the mentioned loans before their approval by Parliament.

Supported by the following Residents Associations:

  • Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
  • Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association
  • Epworth Residents Development Association
  • Norton Residents Alliance
  • Chitungwiza Residents and Ratepayers Association
  • Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association

Source: Community Water Alliance