ZESA Holdings executive board chairperson Sydney Gata yesterday struggled for answers after he was cornered by the Tendai Biti led Public Accounts Committee to explain how the parastatal secured a US$35 million loan from the Afreximbank without parliamentary approval,” reported News Day.

By Patrick Guramatunhu

“Besides the opaque US$35m loan deal, the committee also questioned the awarding of the Gwanda solar project to Wicknell Chivayo, PME transformer deal as well as Sakunda Holdings’ Dema Power project.”

This is just a bit of theatrical drama and no one enjoys it more than the opposition MPs like Tendai Biti, Themba Mliswa, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, etc.; they consider it as proof they are doing a splendid job as oppositions MPs. They are positioning themselves ahead of the opposition park hunting for the few gravy train seats Zanu PF has been giving away since the 2013 elections. 

Zanu PF got itself into trouble with SADC and AU for blatantly cheating and using wanton violence in the 2008 elections. The party was forced to go into the 2008 to 2013 GNU whose primary purpose was to implement a raft of democratic reforms to restore the individual freedoms and rights including reforms to ensure future elections were free, fair and credible. 

The task of implementing the reforms fall to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends. Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies hated having to share power with the MDC but what they dreaded the most was having the reforms implemented and strip away the party’s carte blanche dictatorial powers that had kept the party in power ever since the country’s independence in 1980. 

As President in the GNU, Mugabe saw to it that MDC leaders were pampered and denied nothing the gravy train had to offer. They were given ministerial limos, very generous salaries and allowances, a US$4 million mansion for Tsvangirai, etc., etc. With their snouts in the feeding trough, the MDC leaders forgot about the reforms and deaf to anyone reminding them of the need to implement reforms. 

Indeed, the odd occasion the MDC leaders said anything during the GNU, it was to take turns in singing the praises of Robert Mugabe. Tendai Biti described Mugabe as “unflappable father of the nation and fountain of all wisdom”! Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga was in such awe she was “speechless”. 

MDC leaders failed to implement even one democratic reform in five years of the GNU. Not one! And hence the reason the nation is still stuck with this corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship. 

Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies realised during the GNU that they can keep their dictatorial powers and rig elections and will avoid the GNU sin-bin as long as the party got the opposition to participate in elections. And so, ever since the 2013 elections, the party has offered a few gravy train seats plus a share of the annual Political Party Finance Act pay out as bait. Bait the likes of Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and everyone in the MDC plus many, many others in the opposition camp have found irresistible. 

Of course, everyone in the opposition camp participating in these flawed and illegal elections, ZEC has even failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters’ roll, KNEW Zanu PF was rigging the elections and that by participating they are giving legitimacy to the regime. 
Zanu PF’s vote rigging powers are limitless, having no verified voters’ roll alone offers an infinite ways one can rig the vote; and so the party is guaranteed to win 2/3 or so majority plus the presidency. With it clear majority Zanu PF is enjoying absolute power and riding roughshod over the people, denying them their freedoms and rights, much as the party had done before the 2008 GNU. 

Tendai Biti and others in the opposition leaders, lucky enough to have won the few gravy train seats would want the nation to believe their presence in parliament is making a world of difference to the way Zimbabwe is governed. They are justifying why they participated in the July 2018 elections and why they must participate in the 2023 elections even though Zanu PF will rig those elections too! 

“I’m disappointed with the management of Zesa for failing to appear before this committee on a matter which they knew they had to answer on specific matters, especially the matter of the 2019 forensic audit report,” said Tendai Biti.

“We express disappointment that Zesa did not come armed with the relevant personnel that was present at that time to help answer the committee’s specific questions.”

Dr Sydney Gata was appointed the first GM of ZESA soon after its formation in the late 1980s for no other reason other than that he was Robert Mugabe’s brother-in-law. Gata had to divorce his wife to marry Mugabe’s sister and the appointment was delayed when he was suspected of dragging his feet over the divorce. 

Gata’s tenure as ZESA’s GM was marked by gross mismanagement, rampant corruption and abuse of office. By the time Gata finally left ZESA, the parastatal was in a real mess. It beggars belief that Gata was ever allowed back to work for ZESA. He considers himself a part of the Zanu PF ruling elite and hence the reason he is back at ZESA – this is a political appointment and merit has nothing to do with it! 

Other than express his “disappointment” with the criminal waste of human and material resources at ZESA, there is very little else Tendai Biti and his parliamentary committee can do about it. Tendai Biti is nothing but a Chihuahua barking at a marauding head of elephants, they will not interrupt their feeding because they fear of being eaten alive by the Chihuahua! 

Tendai Biti and the winners of the few gravy train seats would want the nation to believe they will ultimately prevail and end the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship, the Chihuahuas will drive away the elephants. The nation was foolish to believe this nonsense in 2013 and again in 2018. Time will tell if the nation will be hoodwinked once again and be dragged into yet another utterly meaningless elections process on the pretext the opposition will wig the rigged elections and finally end the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship!

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