HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsBigwigs Zesa debts: Shocking hypocrisy

Bigwigs Zesa debts: Shocking hypocrisy

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The revelations by Energy minister Elton Mangoma of how Cabinet ministers, MPs and senior civil servants are using their political muscle to avoid paying electricity bills clearly show why this country is in the mess it finds itself in.

The ministers disclosure to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, to explain the electricity situation in the country, laid bare the shocking hypocrisy in government corridors.

It was revealed that most government ministers owe between $20 000 and $100 000 with Manicaland governor Chris Mushohwe owing a whopping $145 000, contributing largely to the $537 million Zesa debt. Worse still, among the list of those crippling the power utility are none other than the permanent secretary in that very ministry, Justin Mupamhanga.

Yet it is the ordinary man in the street that bears the brunt of Zesas nationwide load-shedding exercise. It is the ordinary man who is disconnected for owing amounts as little as $30 and $40 while some government officials continue to enjoy uninterrupted supply of power despite going for months, if not years, without paying a dime.

In other countries this would cause a national outcry that would prompt the resignation of these government officials. But it is expecting too much in a country where corruption and lack of accountability has become a way of life.

That Mupamhanga is still sitting in his office giving direction to Zesa, and probably approving the disconnection of electricity of thousands of Zimbabweans while owing the utility such a huge amount is nothing short of a disgrace. He is a huge stain on the fabric of Zesas efforts at debt recovery and should be shown the exit.

Cabinet ministers who are supposed to ensure the countrys progress are proving to be the obstacle to that progress.

As committee chairman Edward Chindori-Chininga rightly enquired of Mangoma saying: You are accusing MPs of owing Zesa, yet your own ministry owes US$30 000 in electricity bills to Zesa, and you are supposed to be the policy person.

How do Cabinet ministers make decisions on debt issues owed by the public when they themselves are not paying Zesa?

The empty threat by Mangoma to switch off ministers and senior government officials would be comical if it was not so tragic because we all know its not going to happen. We have heard it all before and, through bitter experience, learnt not to get excited by such feeble statements.

President Robert Mugabe has blamed sanctions by the United States and Europe as the cause of all the countrys ills, but he is better advised to look closer to home.

He will see that the flagrant abuse of State utilities such as Zesa and shocking levels of corruption by his lieutenants have caused more havoc than sanctions ever could.

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