By Gift Phiri and Farai Mutsaka
HARARE – 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 are also in the mix. But the impunity is 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 due to cash flow problems.
As the Daily News investigation shows, it was a free for all — from the executive, the legislature and the judiciary down to party structures in remote places.
Multiple farms grabbed during the often-violent land reform have been getting electricity supplies for free, as ordinary Zimbabweans battling to survive the country’s struggling economy are switched off for owing paltry amounts.
Saviour Kasukuwere, who as Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister is leading President Robert Mugabe’s campaign to “spread wealth to the people”, raked up $100 602,22 in unpaid Zesa bills as at December 31, 2011.
Some of the defaulters locked out Zesa employees and set vicious dogs on them for trying to disconnect power. Legislators from across the political divide in the ruling coalition, judges, provincial governors, ministers and their deputies and permanent secretaries, make the list of defaulters.
A rundown of district bills as at December 31, 2011 tells a story. Among the biggest debtors in Marondera is Zanu PF MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, who owed over $12 000.
Zanu PF Mutoko North legislator Mabel Chinomona owed Zesa $5 904,98.
Retired Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri’s four properties owed over $13 000.
Murehwa South Zanu PF MP Joe Biggie Matiza owed Zesa $15 710.
Paddy Zhanda, the chairman of Parliament’s Finance committee and Zanu PF Goromonzi North MP, owed Zesa in excess of $174 000.
Women’s Affairs minister and Zanu PF Mutoko South legislator Olivia Nyembesi Muchena is sitting on a $44 000 plus arrears.
Aeneas Chigwedere, a historian and former cabinet minister whose headmanship is being challenged in the High Court by villagers in his Mashonaland East home area, owed Zesa over $8 000.
Oriah Kabayanjiri, Zanu PF Senator for UMP Mudzi, owed $29 029.
Sydney Sekeramayi, Marondera-Wedza Zanu PF Senator, who is also State Security minister and a long time Mugabe loyalist, owed $108 296.
In Chinhoyi, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s estranged wife, Marian, who is locked in a bitter divorce and property wrangle with her rich husband, is saddled with a staggering $175 085 Zesa debt.
Mashonaland West provincial governor Faber Chidarikire owed $22 395.
Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey Bimha owed $7 967,76
Zanu PF’s Harare provincial chairman Amos Midzi owed $34 057,05.
The failure to pay runs across the entire gamut of government bureaucracy.
Munyaradzi Kajese, the President’s protocol officer, owed Zesa $23 483,45
Walter Chidakwa, State Enterprises and Parastatals deputy minister and legislator for Zvimba South, was failing to pay $7 618,31
The President’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, Zvimba East MP’s bill ran to $54 407,31
Zanu PF MP for Mhondoro-Ngezi Bright Matonga owed Zesa $11 607,12.
Henry Muchena, who retired as a commander in the air force to spearhead Mugabe’s re-election campaign, owed $31 800,56.
Constitution Select Committee co-chairperson and Chivi Central Zanu PF MP, Paul Munyaradzi Mangwana, was obligated to pay $41 512,94.
The Zanu PF Mashonaland West local office owed Zesa $2 792,45.
In Bulawayo East district, Vice President John Nkomo did not care to respond to Zesa enquiries about his $1 402,28 debt, documents in our possession show.
Minister for Water Resources Development and Management and MDC MP for Lobengula, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, also ignored Zesa’s inquiries on his $2 238,60.
Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, one of Industry minister Welshman Ncube’s lieutenants, owed Zesa $3 256,90.
High Court judge Misheck Cheda’s Khumalo property had not paid the power utility $5 959,78. He paid $500 on January 27 this year.
Matabeleland Zanu PF heavy weight and Mines minister Obert Mpofu does not owe Zesa anything, the same applies to Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.
MDC MP for Nkulumane Tamsanqa Mahlangu, who was fired from a deputy ministerial post by Tsvangirai before losing the party youth wing chairmanship to Solomon Madzore, owed Zesa $2 248,34.
Zesa’s efforts to disconnect properties belonging to co-Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi and his wife Tambudzani Budagi, who is also Senator for Beitbridge, hit a brick wall after Zesa messengers failed to access the properties. The two cumulatively owed Zesa $12 538,57.
In Hwange, the President’s department owed Zesa $8 863,37
The late Brigadier General and national hero Paul Gunda, whose death sparked controversy, owed Zesa $7 517,68 from his Tatenda Safaris property in Hwange.
According to investigations, Kasukuwere’s empire is spread as far as Hwange, where again he has not been picking up his electricity tabs.
Kasukuwere’s UTC tour company was disconnected for a $4 857,44 debt. His other firm V/F Motors suffered similar fate after failing to pay $1 876,45.
In Masvingo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Mwenezi East Zanu PF MP, owed $77 828,66. He paid $1 750 in January.
Former Zanu PF MP, Shuvai Mahofa owed $9 299,41.
Higher Education minister Stan Mudenge had run a $9 478,35 Zesa bill by year-end.
Former minister of Industry and Trade Samuel Mumbengegwi owed $4 961.
Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke is one of the highest Zesa debtors in the province with a tab of $16 857,33.
It is in Manicaland where some of the biggest debtors are located. It starts right at the top.
Manicaland governor Chris Mushowe leads the pack with an astounding bill of $367 606,07.
Central Intelligence Organistion boss Happyton Bonyongwe comes a close second with a staggering $350 989,48 bill.
Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State in the President’s Office, who vociferously blames sanctions for the decline of State parastatals such as Zesa, owed the power utility a massive $179 590,31.
He paid $1 000 in January. But he doesn’t match Zanu PF Manicaland provincial heavyweight Enock Porusingazi, who owed Zesa a hefty $186 525,46.
Zanu PF Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri owed $53 699,69.
Housing minister and MDC legislator for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency, Giles Mutsekwa, is sitting on a $1 656,38 Zesa bill.
And this is just Zesa. Daily News