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Case alert on the construction of the US$3 billion Sengwa coal plant

Environmental justice as envisaged by section 73 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe should be at the center of developmental projects in Zimbabwe. As the US$3 billion Sengwa coal power plant project in Northern Zimbabwe takes shape, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association has in terms of section 62 of the Constitution as read with section 4 of the Environmental Management requested information from the responsible authorities. ZELA wrote and served a letter to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA). ZERA in terms of Zimbabwe’s laws is mandated to regulate the energy sector. The purpose of the letter to ZERA is to get a status report on the project and enquire if licences have been issued to the companies thus far. Further, ZELA wants to find out if the project itself is consistent with the just transition to clean energy and renewable energy policies in Zimbabwe. Another letter was served to the Ministry of Mines with a view of getting information on what the Ministry is doing with regards to this project and whether the licences have been issued. The Environmental Management Agency’s attention has also been sought and the letter seeks clarification on whether an Environmental Impact Assessment has been conducted and whether or not the climate change considerations have been made.

The requested information is important for transparency and accountability. It will also help the general public to understand and be informed about the project that can affect them for generations to come.

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