Zimbabwe Electricty Authority Worker Thoroughly Beaten Up

This is Hwange Power Station in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is struggling to maintain the plant amid shortages of coal and breakdowns, which has led to frightening levels of power cuts and rationing all across the country. The people are angry and in such an environment, it was inevitable that one of them would take it out on a ZESA worker.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 15 November 2009

A Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority worker is lucky to be alive after a mob descended on him in Chitungwiza, on the outskirts of Harare and beat him up for trying to disconnect the supply of a resident who was behind in his payments.

The worker apparently tried to mount his motorbike but was pulled down and beaten up. When the mob let up a bit, he escaped, together with his bike and made a report at a local police station, leading to the arrest of the home owner and two others.

ZESA workers in the town, angered by the treatment of one of their own, apparently formed their own gang and proceeded to the home, where they not only cut off the power, but also walked off with the electricity meter itself, ensuring that the house will not have power for ages to come.

This incident comes as electricity supplies in Zimbabwe reach a critical level. Whole swathes of both affluent suburbs and the poorer townships are going for days without power as ZESA ramps up load-shedding.

At the same time, the power utility company, which is owned by government (the MDC-T is now in charge of the ministry that oversees the power company), is being directed by government to charge sub-economic rates. In addition, the Minister of Energy, former MDC-T Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri, has taken a leaf out of ZANU PF's policy book and directed that no persons owing money should be disconnected.

Residents are understandably furious that huge bills continue to show up in their mail boxes despite the fact that they are not being supplied with electricity. The amount of money being spent on firewood by Zimbabweans would, if directed towards ZESA, wipe out the multi-million dollar that the company is saddled with.

Morale is very low at ZESA and this has led to some bizarre incidents, one of which is quoted by the state media today, in which ZESA workers were called to repair an underground fault in the same town of Chitungwiza. However, they said it was not their job to dig up the earth in order to get to the underground cable. If the residents wanted the fault repaired, said the workers, they had to dig up the earth themselves. Picks and shovels were handed out and residents duly started digging!

It is a fact that things such as the continued power shortage, lack of jobs and unwarranted interference in the lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens are contributing to the disenchantment with MDC-T that is now widespread in the towns and cities of Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai's failure to put in place policies and implement them in order to lessen the people's suffering is proving to be his graveyard.


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