Augustine Mukaro recently in Germany
EQUIPMENT worth billions of dollars destined for Zimbabwe lies idle in Munich after the German city suspended its cooperation with Harare last year.
The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal that Harare’s former twin city, Munich, had sourced hospital and other medical equipment, computers, water treatment equipment and refuse removal vehicle spare parts but could not send the much-needed consignment after Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo suspended popularly-elected Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri and virtually took over the running of the city.
Mudzuri was subsequently dismissed in April this year.
In an interview with the Independent last week, Munich mayor Hep Monatzeder’s personal assistant Renate Hechenberger said cooperation would remain frozen until the political situation in Harare improves.
“Cooperation with Harare remains frozen until someone democratically-elected by the people of Harare takes over the mayoral office,” Hechenberger said.
She said Munich had resolved to suspend links for as long as there was no popularly-elected contact person trusted by the people of Harare.
“We initially didn’t want to stop our cooperation with Harare because of the positive response we got from the citizens of Germany following an appeal by Harare residents. But because of the government of Zimbabwe’s continued interference and subsequent dismissal of the mayor we had no option.
“We are however still receiving donations from well-wishers but these will not be shipped to Harare until democracy prevails in the city.”
Hechenberger said when Mudzuri was in office he launched an appeal to Munich for donations to overhaul clinics, the refuse collection system and water treatment of the city of Harare.
“A delegation from Munich visited Harare to assess the need. When the appeal was beginning to pay dividends, the mayor was suspended,” she said.
She said the city of Munich was holding back water treatment machine spare parts, refuse removal vehicle spares, computers and medical equipment all donated by private companies.
“We hope to resume our cooperation with Harare as soon the powers to run the city affairs are returned to the electorate. In the meantime we are strengthening our links with private and civic groups that are working for the development of the local authority,” Hechenberger said.
Prior to the freezing of cooperation projects between the two cities, Munich was helping Harare with technical know-how and exchange programmes in the fields of water supply, waste management, health care and data processing. Mudzuri had signed an agreement on the cooperation.