The recent allegations of corruption levelled against former ZINARA Chief Executive Officer have exposed the unlawful practices by the Roads Authority of contracting companies to repair and maintain roads.
In terms of the Roads Act Section 7 the role and mandate of the Roads Authority is “to fix road user charges and to collect such charges or any other revenue of the Road Fund, allocate and disburse to road authorities.”
According to the Herald of 19 March 2021 , the ZINARA ex CEO offered overpriced tenders for road rehabilitation with him getting kickbacks of US$144 000 and awarded Fremus Enterprise a total of US$20 million in contracts for rehabilitation of roads without following proper tender processes.
This comes at a time when the state of roads in Zimbabwe are in a poor state with the government declaring the state of roads a “national disaster” with ZINARA calling local authorities to find alternatives to fund road maintenance.
Harare has a road network of 4000 kilometers and due to lack of financing since the ZINARA takeover of vehicle licensing in 2008 the other 2000 kilometers are no longer trafficable due to lack of funds to rehabilitate them.
On the 8th of March Combined Harare Residents Association wrote a letter to the CEO of ZINARA requesting total amounts of funds which the Roads Authority disbursed to the City of Harare and Chitungwiza Municipality of 2020 period but to no avail.
CHRA condemns the actions of the ZINARA of spending road funds as it is outside its mandate and calls on the government to retain vehicle licensing to local authorities in line with Chapter 14 of the constitution on devolution as this enhances transparency and accountability in the management of funds.
We therefore continue to advocate for road licensing fees to be taken back to Local Authorities for communities to be able to monitor how funds will be used and to get roads fixed with transparency and accountability. Devolution is the only solution to stop the misuse and looting of public funds for betterment and improvement of our road infrastructure.