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#MondayBlues: Gata- Zesa Circus: The Handiende Syndrome Of Parastatals

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Something is terribly wrong with Zimbabwe’s state owned enteprises, and the culture around their administration. These are public enterprises but someone simply wakes up feeling like an all super being to run them either way they feel like.

The most laughable issue right now at ZESA was the initial appointment of Sydney Gata as the executive chairman, this appointment borders along gross conflict of interest, abuse of authority or possible corruption.

Gata had served at ZESA as the company’s CEO before being controversially sacked, and while he was executive Chairman Gata was suing Zesa for a US$10 million claim as his retrenchment package when he was relieved of his duties in 2007.

It read like a designed script that noted that he had to be back in office and demand his compensation from within to expedite the process .

Why on earth then would the minister of energy Fortune Chasi rehire such a candidate and not only was he appointed to the board, he landed the post of an Executive Chairman, this is even much more powerful than a CEO.

For one to become a board member, there is rigorous process and approvals from the Office Of the President and cabinet, before the President himself approves, all these people fpund it worthy for sucha conflicted man to run ZESA, becasue why?

Someone else is not telling us the full story

Gata was suspended for allegedly allocating for his personal use five company vehicles, scuttling the disciplinary hearing of a top executive, spending $10 million on Christmas parties, sending four consultants to South Africa, and setting up a trust to mine gold.

He however refused to accept the letter of suspension and instead proceeded to suspend the entire board as if he had the powers to do so.

As a consequence, Minister Chasi said, processes are underway to ensure normalcy is restored at Zesa.

“This will include barring Dr Gata from Zesa for a defined period to allow the investigations to happen. We want to be very procedural and need to.

Well done honorable minister you are finally doing the right thing, long overdue, but must be done still.

“We will continue to assume that he is innocent until proven guilty. He needs to make it easy for us, otherwise the irrational actions he is taking — like firing fellow board members — will cause everyone to think otherwise,” he said.

Minister Chasi wrote to the Zesa board of directors on Monday ordering them to expedite the probe.

The letter was copied to Deputy Minister Magna Mudyiwa, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, Secretary for Energy and Power Development Dr Gloria Magombo and Dr Gata himself.

But Dr Gata has been defiant.

He claimed that his lawyers had advised him to stay put because a meeting that was held to suspend him was unprocedural.

He has since responded to Minister Chasi objecting to the processes that led to his suspension, and now wants the matter to be adjudicated

“It is clear from the foregoing that I respectfully take the view that your letter in casu ought not be the basis of the way forward between you (as the line Minister) and the Executive Chairman. I believe this a matter that requires, on an urgent basis, the mediation role of the Office of the President and Cabinet. I will engage that mediation role without delay.”

The Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union (ZEWU) seems to be fighting in Dr Gata’s corner.

In a statement released as a “special communiqué to all Zesa staff” last week, Dr Gata claimed to have suspended the other eight board members.

It seems Gata is determined to fight all the way through and the minister and the board must follow the due process to avoid unnecessary own goals.

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