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Zesa criticised over Grace adverts

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THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has received a barrage of attacks from political, labour, human rights and governance commentators for funding advertisements in the public media congratulating First Lady Grace Mugabe for her appointment as Zanu PF secretary for Women’s League.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

Analysts said Zesa was a public institution and it was not right for them to spend public money for partisan political party interests.

Following the appointment of Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and former Ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko as first and second Vice-Presidents respectively, new 10 ministers and Grace as secretary for Women’s League by President Robert Mugabe, Zesa has placed several advertisements on the public media, congratulating them for their appointments.

Youth empowerment activist, who is also a Zanu PF member, Fidelis Fengu said he believed that Zesa is an institution meant to serve the wishes of the people and should not be spending money on politics.

“Zesa should not spend any money on the politics of the nation,” he said.

“They should stick to their core business.
“They have no business trying to please politicians.
“Yes, the First Lady was chosen by the people, but the same people expect Zesa to deliver on its mandate, even the First Lady wants the people to be happy, so if Zesa spends money on politics even the First Lady won’t be happy.”

Human rights and governance expert, Dewa Mavhinga said Zesa’s “sycophantic congratulations” to the Vice-Presidents and Grace showed just how partisan and politicised State institutions have become.

“In a properly functioning democracy, heads of state institutions like Zesa should not be boot-licking politicians to keep their posts, they should simply deliver professional services like reliable electricity to Zimbabweans,” he said.

“Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe, state institutions compete to align themselves with Zanu PF in order to survive — all professionalism is gone.”

Western region chairman of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Reason Ngwenya described the adverts as an abuse of public funds.

“As a public institution it is no doubt that the money they use to place those advertisements in the media are from us,” he said.
Women of Zimbabwe Arise leader, Jennifer Williams also said the abuse of the public funds from Zesa started at the time when the ministers ordered the channelling of funds from the parastatal to fund the First Lady’s campaigns.

“It is grossly irresponsible for Zesa to channel funds to political activities,” she said.

“It is not corporate responsibility as this is happening at a time when there is rampant load shedding, some institutions like schools are not electrified yet Zesa priorities funding Zanu PF programmes.”

Zesa is already in the eye of a storm, as some within Zanu PF have claimed that money was taken from the parastatal to fund fired Vice President Joice Mujuru’s campaigns.

The parastatal’s congratulatory messages may be seen as a face-saver from the parastatal, as former Minister of Energy Dzikamai Mavhaire and his deputy Munacho Mutezo were fired for allegedly siphoning money from Zesa to fund Mujuru’s so called factional activities.

Efforts to get a comment from Zesa failed yesterday, as officials’ phones went unanswered.

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