By Daniel Chigundu
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been identified as one of the leading factors that have been weighing down the smooth operation of the Central Mechanical and Equipment Department (CMED).
CMED is one of the state-owned enterprises which were created to be self- financing cash cows for the government under the Commercialisation Act of 2000 but has been dismally failing raise revenue for some time.
Presenting Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Report on Transport and Infrastructure Development on CMED’s turnaround strategic plan, committee chairperson Dexter Nduna said the parastatal is still owed payment by ZEC for services rendered in 2013.
“…during the 2013 harmonised elections, ZEC procured CMED vehicles worth US$768 000 and to date, that money has still not been paid.
According to Honourable Nduna, “ZEC should expeditiously liquidate their US$768 000 debt with CMED in order to open further lines of assistance from CMED”.
ZEC which is currently preparing for the 2018 harmonised elections revealed that it requires about US$274 million to conduct the polls.
It is however not clear if the US$274million is including settling of the debt or not, but ZEC will require vehicles for the elections.
Meanwhile, Honourable Nduna has also revealed that CMED is owed over US$24 million by Government through its various user Ministries.
Some of the money emanates from servicing vehicles belonging ministers and other high ranking government officials and fuel purchases at its various workshops throughout the country.
Adding his voice to the debate Binga South legislator Gabbuza Joel Gabbuza said “when you look at the way government abuses CMED, there is no way CMED can make money.
“Ministers service their vehicles and do not pay; Ministers hire buses for political rallies through the small fleet that CMED runs and nobody pays, Government gets pays and abuses the fuels yet Ministers are given coupons to redeem to CMED but they do not redeem; they just use the fuel and get away.
“I think in summary, it is either we have CMED as a private company and have government to back off, then that company must compete with all other companies. It is not the committee’s business to go and make recommendations about administration but clearly, they had to do it because there is no administration system in place.
“I think Mr Speaker; it is either that we make a bold decision since there is a new government in place or CMED should be disbanded because it is serving no purpose at all other than assisting some people to abuse the system within the CMED,” he said.