NUMEROUS articles on Zesa which appeared in the press in recent weeks have been some eye-openers. But the most interesting of them was the one written by Obert Nyatanga, general manager of corporate affairs for the power utility.
Like one Mwanawevhu, who wrote the article “Zesa in a state of paralysis” in a Daily Mirror issue published sometime in February, I am a Zesa employee and would like to qualify that aspect.
Many people are given to believing that those writing to the press are junior unschooled employees who are frustrated because of their failure to rise up the corporate ladder.
I am a holder of a BSc electrical engineering degree from the University of Zimbabwe, having passed Advanced levels with 3 Bs and am a registered chartered engineer. So, in the field of electrical engineering, I am as qualified as they come.
Now, to the subject matter. Everything that employees are complaining about through the press is as true as saying the Victoria Falls lies on the Zambezi River.
There is no denying that because it is a fact that can be proved, and only a fool can try to argue otherwise.
This is the sort of predicament that Nyatanga finds himself in; trying to defend the indefensible. All he does, like a poor goat in a fight, is to expose his rear for all to see.
He is one of those few enjoying and benefiting from the confusion reigning supreme at Zesa.
All you need to do in order to confirm his confusion is read the Chronicle of February 14 in which he launches a tirade against Reserve Bank governor Dr Gideon Gono.
His beef with the central bank boss is that Zesa has been denied permission to raise tariffs to a cost-recovery level while the central bank argues that such an increase would frustrate the country’s economic turnaround strategy.
It is true that the obtaining tariff regime is sub-economic just as it is equally true that raising the tariffs will provoke a chain price-increase-reaction that will be hard to contain.
Instead of sanctioning tariff increases, the central bank has said it will give the utility $1,7 trillion. Economic decisions in Zimbabwe, like everywhere else in Africa, are not driven by economic fundamentals alone. They are informed to a very large measure by the prevailing political situation. Wish Nyatanga knew! Who else but him ought to know this better?
Attacking Gono is as suicidal as taking poison hoping one’s neighbour will die instead.
Had he been working for a private sector organisation, Nyatanga would have been shown the exit in a huff with all the contempt he deserves following that attack on the RBZ governor.
Fortunately for him, and unfortunately for Zimbabwe and its economy, parastatals do not punish one for mediocrity hence their chronic paralysis as Mwanawevhu points out.
A few weeks ago Nyatanga granted a Herald scribe an interview. Half the questions he did not have answers to because he lacked the technical knowledge.
But to all intents and purposes, the questions could well have been answered so eloquently by a third-year apprentice.
All Nyatanga was supposed to do was ask someone with knowledge to provide the answers that would in turn be passed on to the press. That is how it is supposed to be. This idea of wanting to hog the limelight reflects narrow-mindedness. Now how more wrong does he want to get before you can say “it’s enough”?
I personally do not mind if the three musketeers — Obert Nyatanga, Dr Sydney Gata, the executive chairman and corporate secretary Timothy Sain, keep bungling quietly like they have always done.
I take great exception if one of them tries to go public to defend the indefensible like what Nyatanga has done. Remember that if you live in a glass house you should desist from throwing stones, lest the inevitable happens.
Zesa is currently faced with a monumental human resources crisis following the indiscriminate engagement of loss control officers mostly from Chipinge.
This is one crisis that will cause a strike at Zesa and the writing is on the wall. Most of the them are illiterate and were placed in Grade B3 meant for junior clerks who hold at least 5 “O” level passes.
Finances at Zesa are a shambles. Tel*One are owed close to $300 million in unpaid telephone bills for Marondera and Mutoko offices and these have since been disconnected.
They are owed a further $1,7 billion in unpaid postage charges. Now how does the executive chairman expect the company to collect oustanding money when customers are not receiving their bills?
I call upon the authorities to set up another commission of enquiry like they did in the 80’s and re-fire Gata.
For the record, Gata was fired for incompetence and corruption following the Justice Smith Commission of enquiry into the operations of Zesa.
How he managed to come back through the back door is a mystery. Please save us from evil!