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Politics stalls Chisumbanje re-opening

STAKEHOLDERS in the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project say while the local community has resolved its disputes with investor Green Fuels, political posturing continues to stall the re-opening of the plant which they expect to improve local livelihoods in particular and the economy in general.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Members of the District Ethanol Project Implementation Committee (Depic) have urged government to relax its demand for a 51% share in the project in line with its controversial indigenisation programme, blaming it for delaying the granting of the operating licence needed for operations to resume.

Depic members currently in Harare to meet the top leadership including President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai vowed to remain in the capital for as long as it takes to obtain a guarantee that the plant would be re-opened.

Depic said their visit comes against the background of Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s visit to the plant in March despite the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Although Mujuru reportedly blamed politics for scuttling development initiatives and told the Chisumbanje community to “consider the ethanol plant opened”, the plant remains closed.

“We are tired of politicians coming as individuals and posturing while the plant remains shut causing suffering to the community that would otherwise be benefitting. So this time we want to meet all of them, including President Mugabe,” said Claris Madhuku speaking on behalf of Depic.

Depic was set up to facilitate communication among the local community, government and Green Fuels, the developers of the Chisumbanje ethanol project.

Depic members who met the Zimbabwe Independent in Harare on Tuesday include Chipinge South MP Meki Makuyana, Green Fuel assistant general manager Raphael Zuze, local headmen and councillors.

They are demanding the opening of the project as soon as possible.

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