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Fortune Chasi fires entire Zesa board

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Fortune Chasi

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 The Herald Zimbabwe last night, Minister Fortune 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 Fortune Chasi.

Asked why he had sacked the board which was only appointed on March 19 this year, Minister Fortune 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 steady power supply for the nation.

However, the power supply situation has deteriorated largely due to water shortages in the 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 management.”The Chronicle

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BUSINESS

Eskom Begins 400MW Power Supply to Zimbabwe

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Fortune Chasi

ZESA Holdings has reportedly started receiving 400 Megawatts of electricity from South Africa power utility, ESKOM.

This comes after the latter accepted Zimbabwe’s payment plan which involves payment of US$890,000 per week to settle its long-standing debt with ESKOM.

Zimbabwe is currently generating about 692 megawatts against a daily peak demand of about 1 600MW to 2000MW in winter.
All sectors were projecting fewer revenues this year as a result of the crippling load-shedding which ZESA had implemented due to the power deficit in the country.

Some companies were contemplating closing some of their branches with OK Zimbabwe, one of the biggest retailers in the country, having already closed one of its shops in Rusape.

The main power generator in the country, Kariba South Hydropower plant, has reportedly been immensely affected by the shrinking water levels at the dam whilst Hwange thermal power is underperforming due to ageing equipment.

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President Mnangagwa fires Prisca Mupfumira

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Prisca Mupfumira fired

President Emmerson Mnangagwa fired Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira on Thursday, a statement from Zimbabwe’s presidency said, after she was detained over the disappearance of millions of dollars during her time as welfare minister.

Prisca Mupfumira is facing seven corruption charges linked to $94 million missing from the country’s pension fund.

She was “removed … from the office of a cabinet minister and minister of government with immediate effect”, the statement said, without giving further details.

Mupfumira was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission in July, becoming the first sitting minister of the ruling Zanu-PF party to be jailed for graft under Mnangagwa’s new administration.

Mupfumira was sacked as social welfare minister by ex-president Robert Mugabe weeks before a military-led coup that toppled the long-time ruler in November 2017.

After the putsch, she was re-appointed with a new portfolio.

Mnangagwa has identified endemic corruption as a major contributor to the country’s economic woes and vowed to root it out.AFP

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More than 2 million Zimbabweans on the brink of starvation – UN

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Zimbabwe Food Crisis

More than two million Zimbabweans are on the cusp of “starvation”, the United Nations food agency has said, launching a $331.5m aid appeal to help the southern African country recover from a devastating drought.

David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said on Tuesday that 2.3 million people in rural Zimbabwe were in “crisis emergency mode” and need food aid now.

“We are talking about people who truly are marching towards starvation if we are not here to help them,” Beasley said. “We are facing a drought unlike any that we have seen in a long time.”

The El Nino-induced drought cut the maize harvest by half, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared it a national disaster.

The drought comes with Zimbabweans enduring the worst economic crisis in a decade – prices of staples such as sugar, cooking oil and rice have more than doubled since June, jacking up inflation to more than 175%.

Beasley said those in need of emergency food aid in rural Zimbabwe would increase to 5.5 million by next year.

The government estimates another 2.2 million people in urban areas also require food aid, bringing the total to 7.7 million, more than half of the country’s population.

The $331.5m would be used for food aid, provision of water and sanitation and cash handouts to stricken families.

In addition to food shortages, the appeal also targeted the humanitarian needs of victims of Cyclone Idai which tore through parts of eastern Zimbabwe earlier this year.

The cyclone, which also affected parts of Malawi and Mozambique, affected 570 000 Zimbabweans and displaced some 50 000 of them.

Mnangagwa, in a tweet on Wednesday, called for urgent action from the international community to help Zimbabwe deal with “the devastating Cyclone Idai and an El Nino induced drought”.

Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from longtime leader, Robert Mugabe, following a military coup in November 2017.

He won disputed elections last year, pledging to revive the struggling economy, create jobs, attract foreign investment and turn the country into a middle-income economy by 2030. But he has struggled to deliver on economic promises or usher in meaningful political reforms.

Zimbabwe is also experiencing its worst power cuts in three years, partly because the drought has reduced water levels at the country’s biggest hydro plant, Kariba.

Amid rising discontent, the main opposition party said it was planning street demonstrations next week to protest against the government’s handling of the economy.

Al Jazeera

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