Factional interests inform new boards

ZANU PF factionalism reared its ugly head once again in the recent appointments made by Energy and Power Development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire of board members for Zesa Holdings and its nine subsidiaries.

Elias Mambo

Mavhaire gave a lifeline to losing Zanu PF candidates Fred Kanzama, Elias Musakwa, Jacob Chademana and Patrick Zhuwao, who were appointed to the boards of PowerTel, Zesa Enterprises, National Oil Infrastructure Co and Zimbabwe Power Co respectively.

This is a development analysts say is linked to factionalism within the party mainly pitting Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in the long-running race to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

Mavahaire reportedly belongs to the Mujuru camp and most of the appointees are said to be aligned to that camp as well.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure said the appointments were a reflection of factionalism as Zanu PF party gears up for its December congress which has taken on a greater significance as party rivals look to position themselves strategically to succeed Mugabe, 90.

“If you critically analyse these appointments then one would see traces of factionalism and the camp the minister belongs to,” Masunungure said.

“It is all part of the struggle for succession to ensure that ministers and their appointees are strategically placed in positions of influence.”
Political commentator Alexander Rusero concurred with Masunungure adding that “it is the economy that will suffer as political patronage and allegiance tops priority in the appointment of the board members”.

“It is clear everyone who matters in the forthcoming congress has to be brought closer so that their influence can be used in the elective congress,” Rusero said.

Zanu PF will be holding its youth and women’s league congresses in August ahead of the main congress in December, and party sources say this has escalated tensions as rival faction leaders are eager to have their preferred candidates take top positions in the party, government and quasi-government institutions.

This explains why Mavahaire has brought back the likes of Musakwa, Former Lands and Rural Resettlement minister Herbert Murerwa and former Masvingo governor and resident minister Willard Chiwewe.
Musakwa, who is well-known in local gospel music circles, lost primaries to his then Zanu PF counterpart Munyaradzi Kereke who is believed to be loyal to the Mnangagwa camp. However, the results were rejected and Zanu PF endorsed Musakwa as its official candidate after they both filed their nomination papers to contest the general elections. Kereke landed the seat after trouncing Musakwa once again.
Murerwa was appointed to chair the Zesa Holdings board while Chiwewe will head the Rural Electrification Agency board.
Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairperson John Mvundura landed the ZETDC chairmanship, while Zanu PF director for economic affairs Nyasha Mandeya is a Zesa Holdings board member.

Former Zvimba East legislator Patrick Zhuwao is now vice-chairperson of the Zimbabwe Power Co board that is chaired by Stanley Kazhanje.

Clarissa Vongai Muchengeti, who was once Chirumanzu-Kwekwe-Silobela Senator, was appointed to the Zimbabwe Power board, while Bulawayo Zanu PF provincial chairperson Callistus Ndlovu is a board member for the newly-established Kariba South Hydro Power Company.

The appointments fly in the face of government’s newly crafted National Code of Corporate Governance aimed at providing a “holistic solution to corporate failure and poor corporate governance”.
A fortnight ago, the state media reported that government had joined hands with the private sector to craft the code which will, among other things, ensure that merit and integrity are part of the considerations in appointing board members to public entities.

It seems that the code is already being ignored, going by the appointment of the likes of Ndlovu who was implicated in the infamous Willowgate Scandal of 1988 when cabinet ministers corruptly used their positions to acquire motor vehicles at knock-down prices from the Willowvale car assembly plant, only to re-sell them for huge profits.

At that time Zanu PF and government, which boasted of a socialist-style leadership code which forbade party officials from owning businesses, was serious about tackling corruption to the extent that Ndlovu and other party heavyweights like the late Maurice Nyagumbo, Frederick Shava and the late Enos Nkala were hauled before a commission of inquiry led by then judge president Wilson Sandura and subsequently lost their ministerial posts.
Ndlovu was brought back by the Mujuru faction as party chair for the Bulawayo province.

Zimbabwe has a well-documented history of crafting well-intentioned policy documents including Zanu PF’s leadership code of 1984 through to the more recent Corporate Governance Framework (CGF) launched in 2010 during the tenure of the unity government comprising Zanu PF and the MDC formations from 2009 to 2013.
The CGF launched by former State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo found no takers in government despite its noble objective of turning around the operations of corruption and mismanagement-riddled state enterprises.

It contains step-by-step procedures, including consultations and consensus among key stakeholders in the appointments of board members culminating in cabinet approval.

Efforts to get a c

omment from Mavhaire proved futile as his mobile phone went unanswered. He also failed to respond to a text message.