Africa Moyo, Harare Bureau
ENERGY and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi, yesterday fired the entire Zesa board for failing to “appreciate the urgency of the situation we are in”.
The country is battling acute electricity shortages, and Minister Chasi said the board was not doing much to address the power challenges. In an interview with our Harare Bureau last night, Minister Chasi said he would replace the board with people who do not wait for monthly or quarterly meetings to address the power challenges confronting the nation.
“I have fired the Zesa board,” said Minister Chasi.
Asked why he had sacked the board which was only appointed on March 19 this year, Minister Chasi said: “I want people who appreciate the urgency of the situation we are in. I did not see that in them.
“The challenges at Zesa are deep-seated and they need people who are hands-on, who will not wait for a quarterly meeting or monthly meeting or things like that. So I will be looking around for men and women of integrity who have the experience, who are proven, not academic persons.”
Minister Chasi said he would not rush to appoint a new board, as long as he will get the right people for the task.
“(It will take) as long as it is necessary. We will get the right people; people who will give the nation and the market the right signals that we are serious about turning around Zesa. So those are the women and men that I will be looking for,” he said.
The fired seven-member Zesa board was appointed on March 19 and will probably go down as the shortest serving board.
Upon appointment by former Energy Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo, the board was immediately directed to superintend over the rebundling of the power utility, fighting corruption and ensuring a steady power supply for the nation.
However, the power supply situation has deteriorated largely due to water shortages in Kariba dam, resulting in load-shedding across the country for up to 12 hours in some areas.
Former Cottco managing director, Mr Collins Chihuri,was the board chairman.
Other members included; deputy chairman Engineer Benson Munyaradzi, a Ministry of Energy official who represented the ministry’s interests on the board.
Ms Jacqueline Sande, Trust Chifamba, Mr Hussein Omar, Mrs Cathrine Befura and Mr Thomas Timire were the other board members.
Last night, Mr Chihuri was not reachable for comment.
But in his acceptance remarks on the day of his appointment, Mr Chihuri said; “It is with great humility that I accept the appointment as chairman of the Zesa board. As the minister has just said, there are several challenges but with good effort, I am sure the challenges are not insurmountable. I look forward to the support of my colleagues and the management.”