Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Zesa scam divides government

Zesa scam divides government

By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Monday, 26 March 2012 11:59

HARARE – Sharp divisions have emerged in government over huge Zesa Holdings 
debts owed  by President Robert Mugabe and his allies in Zanu PF which they 
now say have been used by the MDC to prop its electoral chances in future 

A seething Mugabe and his colleagues in Zanu PF last week reportedly 
targeted Energy minister Elton Mangoma for “breaching confidentiality” 
clauses by “leaking” to the Daily News their ballooning Zesa bills which run 
into millions of dollars.

This followed a stinging expose by the Daily News which named Mugabe  and 
his officials among the top defaulters at a time when the majority of the 
poor Zimbabweans were living in darkness following massive disconnections by 
Zesa for not paying their bills.

Mugabe and several Zanu PF ministers last Tuesday reportedly confronted 
Mangoma over the Zesa bills demanding answers why their debts were published 
in the Daily News.

Mangoma however said he was unaware how the bills reached the Daily News. He 
told an investment conference in Harare last week that he respected client 

The Daily News was told yesterday that Mangoma now feels unsafe after the 
fierce confrontation while senior employees at Zesa are said to be  also 
living in fear over the published list of VIP defaulters.

The Zanu PF side of government’s anger was reflected on Saturday in the 
state media when a top government official writing under the pen name 
Nathaniel Manheru claimed that the Zesa  scandal was carefully designed by 
the MDC to create havoc in Zanu PF.

In a column headlined, Inventing a matching scandal, Manheru partly wrote: 
“Out of desperation, MDC-T today pushes its ministers, some of them 
previously arraigned before the courts for questionable conduct, pushes them 
hard to invent matching scandals to incriminate other players so the ugly 
spotlight is shared.

Its thrust is to democratise blame, so judgment is shared. It is a posture 
of a party convinced  about its own incorrigibility.

“Is it not incredible that a whole accountant is pushed to re-classify a 
well documented debt into a screaming scandal? And does so the same weeks 
his counterpart, Finance minister Biti, is publishing a debt settlement 
strategy for Zimbabwe?”

“Or is he about to name and shame Zimbabwe for the scandal of defaulting on 
its debts the same way Zesa clients have? Is owing in business a scandal 
mister accountant? Which business does not carry obligations?”

“Clearly here is a man sidestepping professional knowledge to serve a cause, 
in the process becoming quite stupid by standards of his profession. I 
suppose next week we will read about Sable Chemicals,
itself the biggest single user of power it cannot always pay for in time.”

“More dramatically, Mangoma will name and shame Zesa for the scandal of not 
paying its Mozambican counterpart to the tune of well over US$40 million. 
The whole thing does not make sense at all.”

Nathaniel Manheru is also believed to be one of Mugabe’s top aides.

But a senior MDC official yesterday dismissed the notion that the Zesa 
scandal is being used for political mileage for their party.

“The issue here is simple. They must just simply pay their bills. They all 
confirm that they owe Zesa lots of money so what is the problem. Since 
independence, they were grabbing things for free and now the ball game has 
changed and they are crying,” he said.

The scandal also revealed multiple ownership of farms as most bills emanate 
from the grabbed properties.

The conspiracy to bleed state power firm Zesa by not paying bills running 
into millions ran through the President’s Office and state institutions to 
ministers, the military, MPs and Zanu PF district offices.

A few of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube’s people were 
also in the mix with smaller amounts. But the impunity was shocking.

Top ministers — some who claim to hold vast riches — and just about everyone 
and state institutions connected to the system amassed huge bills at a time 
when Zesa was enforcing a punishing load shedding schedule on the majority 
poor due to cash flow problems.

The First Family through their many farms owed Zesa nearly $345 000 as at 
December 31, 2011.

Manicaland governor Chris Mushowe led the pack with an astounding bill of 
$367 606, 07.

Didymus Mutasa, the minister of State in Mugabe’s office owed State 
parastatals a massive $179 590, 31, Saviour Kasukuwere, who as 
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister is leading Mugabe’s 
campaign to “spread wealth to the people”, raked up $100 602,22 in unpaid 
Zesa bills as at December 31, 2011.

Sydney Sekeramayi, Marondera-Wedza Zanu PF Senator, who is also State 
Security minister and a long time Mugabe loyalist, owed $108 296.

The Daily News yesterday could not get in touch with Mugabe’s spokesperson 
George Charamba or Agriculture minister Joseph Made, who acts as the 
President’s farm manager to check if the First Family had managed to settle 
their bills.

However, sources at Zesa said a number of VIPs named in the scandal were 
last week making inquiries on their bills with some making payment plans to 
clear their debts.

Zesa on the other hand owes Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) $80 million accrued 
from imported power from the Mozambique power company and this has resulted 
in HCB reducing its supply to Zimbabwe demanding payment.

Mangoma told the Daily News yesterday that he will be travelling to 
Mozambique this week to try and negotiate for an  increase of power exported 
to Zimbabwe by HCB.

“I will be travelling to Mozambique this Thursday to negotiate with 
authorities from that country so that we can have an increase in supply,” 
said Mangoma.


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