Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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VIPs confirm Zesa bills

VIPs confirm Zesa bills

By Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 12:01

HARARE – Zesa Holdings’ bid to protect senior government officials 
defaulting on paying their power bills has failed as some of the VIPs have 
personally confirmed to the Daily News that they are in arrears.

Residents also turned the heat on Zesa and urged the poorly-run parastatal 
to push the politicians some of whom it has been giving special treatment as 
“sensitive customers” to pay for their power usage and stop punishing poor 
Zimbabweans only.

The power utility has made a futile and amateurish attempt to cover up the 
embarrassment that came with the exposure of the defaulters by placing 
statements in newspapers dismissing the Daily News story.

Zesa bizarrely went an extra mile apologising to its defaulters and urging 
members of the public to dismiss our story.

But government officials who spoke to the Daily News yesterday confessed 
that they indeed owe Zesa huge sums of money in unpaid electricity bills.

Patrick Zhuwao, Zanu PF MP for Zvimba East who is also Mugabe’s nephew, said 
he owes Zesa and is yet to settle his bills. According to Zesa’s list of 
defaulters he owes the power utility $54 407,31.

“I am a tobacco farmer, I use lots of electricity. But I have since made 
payment arrangements with Zesa. I harvest once a year and that is when I can 
make my payments,” Zhuwao said.

Minister of State in the President’s Office Didymus Mutasa who owes $179 
590,31, said he was still discussing his bill with Zesa officials.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong I have done. I am meeting with Zesa 
officials because there is more to it than meets the eye,” he said.

Thamsanqa Mahlangu, a former deputy minister and MDC legislator had some 
explanation to make in confirming his bill.

“I was put there as the guarantor for my constituency, because I was paying 
for some of the underprivileged,” he said of his $2 248, 34 bill.

Oppah Muchinguri, Zanu PF’s Secretary for Women Affairs and a Cabinet 
minister said she like Zhuwao is a tobacco farmer and feels the Zesa bills 
are too high for her. She owes Zesa $53 699,69.

“I sell once a year but Zesa is on the high. There are ulterior motives 
because the publishing now makes it seem like we are criminals.

“Zesa knows we pay our bills, last year we paid around $40 000 in Zesa 
bills,” she said.

Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere confirmed he owes Zesa while 
speaking to The Telegraph.

He said: “It’s no story here. I will pay my bill, but I am querying it 
because I am not sure the figures are right. Remember there was 
dollarisation in 2009.

“Also I am a farmer, I employ people, I have not yet been paid by the GMB 
and I am waiting for money for the last three or four months, and I am sure 
many of us are in the same situation. We will pay our bills.”

Harare Residents Trust (HRT), residents’ rights lobby group said the 
politicians’ bills are shocking.

“Zesa must halt the disconnections of suffering Zimbabweans and deal with 
government officials who owe hundreds of thousands. These are the same 
people bleeding the economy.”

“Residents are concerned over why Zesa is shielding the powerful and 
penalising the weak. They have failed to claim what is theirs. We call on 
Zimbabweans to do their own metre readings and flock to Zesa offices if they 
differ from what is on their bill sheets,” said Precious Shumba the HRT 

Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said his organisation is not trying to 
shield anyone by denying the Daily News expose but was simply trying to 
protect client information.

“Suggestions that Zesa is trying to protect any particular customer, or 
group of customers, is not correct. It is essentially protecting client 
information privilege, similarly to what other businesses do in pursuance of 
professional business practice.”

“Zesa is dealing with all defaulters across the various customer categories 
in an even handed manner, with fairness and transparency,” said Gwasira.

“Zesa is very aware of the central role it plays in the economy and its 
recovery, and is very sensitive to the liquidity situation currently 
prevailing in the economy. This explains why the utility then afforded all 
customers categories the option of entering into payment plans to amortise 
the debts which had accrued.

“Some customers entered into these payment plans and are abiding to them, 
which is why some figures currently being highlighted in the media require 
qualification and should not be taken at face value.

“Power Disconnections are in both high and low density areas to all 
customers in a fair and transparent manner, and thus members of the public 
should not doubt our resolve to collect the debt and our even handedness,” 
added Gwasira in his response to the Daily News.

But he did not mention why Zesa only defended Mugabe yet there are dozens of 
defaulters among the country’s top officials. Gwasira could not be drawn 
into revealing details about payments on the First Family’s farms.

Among the top government officials owing Zesa hefty amounts of money, at a 
time the country is struggling to pay off an $80 million debt to Mozambique’s 
Hydro Cahora Bassa, are Mugabe’s closest aides such as Defence minister 
Emmerson Mnangagwa, minister of State in the President’s Office Didymus 
Mutasa, State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Information and Publicity 
minister Webster Shamu, Indigenisation minister Kasukuwere, Higher Education 
minister Stan Mudenge, John Nkomo, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, 
Members of Parliament and provincial governors among others.


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