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Shut up and pay: PM tells VIP defaulters


Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said top government officials fingered in the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) scandal allegedly owing the power utility hundreds of thousands dollars should shut up, stop complaining over the publication of their dues and pay up.

Addressing the Water Summit to find ways to bring the precious liquid to the people, Tsvangirai lambasted mainly Zanu PF ministers and a few from his party exposed for not paying up saying their complaints were “much ado about nothing”.

He described the ministers as “economic saboteurs” and fuelling corruption. “Refusal to pay for services provided is not different from economic sabotage. Zimbabwe’s power sector has been seriously compromised by the big chefs’ failure and outright refusal to pay their electricity bills,” he said.

“I am aware of the huge water bills run up by ministers and senior government officials.
“The worrying trend is that most of those who are refusing to honour electricity bills also owe several thousands to Zinwa (Zimbabwe National Water Authority) and local councils,” he said.

In apparent reference to mainly Zanu PF bigwigs who are not paying their dues accrued on their farms, Tsvangirai said: “They refuse to pay for water at their farms and their houses, owing huge sums of money running into several hundreds of thousands, they refuse to pay for electricity and they refuse to pay for literally anything.

“They have institutionalised looting, but our society will not accept this.” Tsvangirai said the practice was akin to a syndicate of economic saboteurs, a web of corruption which must nipped in the bud.

“The hullabaloo about bills having been released to the public and questions of client confidentiality is much ado about nothing. It is hiding behind the finger. Pay your bills and you will save the country,” he said.

“The sad thing is where an old widow, who is looking after several orphans, has her electricity and water disconnected for arrears of just as little as $30, the big chefs enjoy these services all the time, but still refuse to pay up,” he said. “I trust everyone in arrears pays up. Some of them are harvesting their tobacco and we urge Zesa and local authorities to garnish amounts owed to them from their huge payouts.”

Speaking at the same occasion, Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said there was need for action to stop unnecessary deaths from waterborne diseases.The summit was attended by several government ministers and councillors from Harare, Bulawayo and other local authorities.

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