Dr Nkomo’s statue torches storm

28 Mar, 2014 - 03:03 0 Views
Dr Nkomo’s statue torches storm Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo statue

The Chronicle

Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo statue

Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo statue

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Circumstances surrounding the awarding of a tender for the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s statue torched a storm yesterday with MPs accusing the Home Affairs Ministry of flouting tender procedures. It emerged during a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee meeting on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture that the State Procurement Board had awarded the tender to local sculptor, David Mutasa of the Art Village, but the Home Affairs Ministry unilaterally awarded it to a North Korean firm.

National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe executive director Dr Godfrey Mahachi told the committee that only Mutasa and a North Korean firm responded to the tender advert.

He said after conducting due diligence of the two applicants, the Ministry of Home Affairs wanted to award Mutasa the tenders for Mutare and Masvingo statues, while the Korean firm would do Harare and Bulawayo ones.

Dr Mahachi said the State Procurement Board, awarded the tender for all the four statutes to Mutasa at a cost of Z$18 billion.
“We then went into contract with David Mutasa for him to produce one statue at a cost of Z$16 billion. We immediately advanced him 50 percent of the contract price for purposes of purchasing material so that he could make sure all the materials required to fabricate the statue from the very initial stages to bronze casting,” said Dr Mahachi.

He said Mutasa produced a plastered statue before changing the price for bronze casting to about US$200,000 in addition to the 50 percent down payment arguing the six-months time-frame had lapsed.

Dr Mahachi said the Ministry of Home Affairs then decided to engage the Korean firm which charged about US$230,000 for the total product.
The firm was then awarded the tender that saw them producing the statue that was unveiled by President Mugabe in Bulawayo at the junction of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street (former Main Street) and 8th Avenue.

Dr Mahachi had earlier said his department was not competent to comment on the processes that led to the awarding of tenders while also requesting the evidence be held in camera.

Buhera West MP, Cde Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu-PF), who chaired the committee turned down the request.
Substantive chairperson, Cde Themba Mliswa, recused himself saying Mutasa was his uncle.

Legislators accused the authorities of flouting tender procedures willy-nilly.
Cde Mliswa said authorities colluded to breach procurement procedures by unilaterally terminating the contract with Mutasa without consulting him or the SPB.

“They made a decision to make a decision to award the tender to the Koreans without going back to the procurement board to say ‘this person you have awarded the tender  has failed’,” said Cde Mliswa.

“This is where the element of corruption comes in. Why would the State or whoever it is in power… whether it’s a Minister…that procurement board is something that they know about and they have to follow. You certainly went against the State Procurement Board and gave somebody and why did you not follow the State Procurement Board procedures?”

Cde Mliswa said instead of supporting indigenous Zimbabweans, authorities were comfortable exporting jobs to foreigners without considering the inflation rate at that time.

MDC-T legislator for Bulawayo, Ms Nicola Watson, queried why the government did not consider paying the cost of bronze casting a statue done by a local person.
Her Harare counterpart, Ms Evelyn Masaiti (MDC-T), said it would have made sense for government to negotiate with Mutasa rather than giving the tender to a foreigner when they had already incurred costs.

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