In another populist move that is certainly going to send tongues wagging, Zanu PF Manicaland acting chairman and Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge has ordered the slashing of electricity bills for residents in Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency in Mutare.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The slashing, which has been described as a vote-buying gimmick by observers, was announced at a campaign rally on Sunday at Dangamvura Beit Hall, just about a month before by-elections on June 10.
The rally was organised to drum up support for the Dangamvura-Chikanga Zanu PF candidate Esau Mupfumi who is set to compete for the vacant seat with seven other candidates.
Addressing the rally, Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko asked Undenge how he was going to help residents in the constituency access electricity.
Mphoko said an agreement should be reached between the Energy and Power Development minister and residents of Mutare.
“Let us reach an agreement because Undenge is your minister of electricity. Let us reach an agreement so that our bills can be slashed and for you to be able to pay,” he said.
Undenge said he was aware that most of the people were failing to pay their electricity bills due to economic challenges.
“I know most of you have debts, now let us reach an agreement if you pay about 70% of your debt we are going to do what we call redemption. You just pay the 70% and we are going to wipe out all the debt,” he said.
Mphoko dished out cash and foodstuffs to drum up support for Mupfumi who was referred to as a hwindi (commuter omnibus tout) at the rally.
In the run-up to the 2013 harmonised elections, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo directed all local authorities to scrap off debts from 2009 in a development which has crippled most councils up to today.