NGO accuses Zanu PF of hijacking ethanol project

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MUTARE — A local non-governmental organisation, Platform for Youth Development (PYD), has accused some Zanu PF members of hijacking the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project, describing the move as “selfish and capitalistic”.

 In a scathing attack, PYD director, Claris Madhuku, said villagers in Chisumbanje had become poorer and were living in hell since the inauguration of the ethanol project four years ago.

“The project has been hijacked by political and partisan players who are selfish and capitalistic, therefore, divisive and incapable of attracting co-operation from villagers and the government,” he said.

“In this case, Zanu PF is in control of the project and all those perceived to be anti-Zanu PF are victimised and sidelined.”

The Chisumbanje Ethanol Project is a joint venture between Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) and Macdom Investments.

PYD represents the local community in promoting dialogue between the ethanol project and the villagers.

Madhuku said resettled families, particularly those perceived to be aligned to MDC-T, were yet to receive compensation while those said to be close and loyal to Zanu PF were given first preference.
He added that the project, if managed well, had the capacity to change the livelihoods of many people.

“However, the activities and administration of the project is characterised by controversy that makes it difficult for Zimbabweans to be optimistic that the project was meant to benefit the nation.
“The project seems to be meant for Zanu PF individuals and their secretive shareholders,” Madhuku said.

He said it was sad that the company has been telling the whole world that it had employed 5 000 employees, including locals, yet only a few people had been employed from the local community.

“The project has failed to co-exist with the local community,” Madhuku continued.

He accused the company of defying recommendations made by an inter-ministerial committee led by Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, which advised the company to work with an independent committee, as opposed to a handpicked team of politically-biased people from the community.

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