By Thandiwe Garusa
ENERGY Minister Fortune Chasi has become the first member of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s executive to make an open call for members of the public and professionals to submit their CVs for possible appointment to boards of State entities as he seeks to rid the country’s energy sector of mismanagement, nepotism and corruption.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Chasi said the decision was made in order to help him widen his reach before making choices.
“The open call is going to help in the sense that it brings a broader range of people to choose from, not having a small group that is known just by myself. We have more people applying and we will conduct interviews and we can be able to identify skilled people that we need,” said Chasi.
The Energy Minister added that he was also doing this to ensure transparency.
“Just to make sure that the process is open and transparent, and that there is a bigger pool from which to select board members rather than just thinking of people whom I know,” he said.
This comes a week after a member of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) revealed that efforts are underway to lobby Mnangagwa to ban the practice of having Cabinet Ministers handpicking parastatal boards.
Zacc Commissioner Andrew Makoni told an anti-corruption workshop in Bulawayo that the practice had created a haven for corruption and nepotism with ministers moving their friends from one entity to another as they were moved within Cabinet.
In a public notice, Chasi announced he was looking for competent personnel to be appointed as board members for the Zimbabwe Energy Regulator Authority (ZERA), ZESA Holdings, Finealt Engineering, Petrotrade, National Oil and Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC) and the Rural Electrification Fund.
Last year, President Mnangagwa established the Corporate Governance Unit whose mandate, among other things, is to create a database for Zimbabwean professionals who may at some point want to work for government or in parastatals.
Mnangagwa has declared zero tolerance to corruption and only last week, fired then Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira following her arrest on charges of criminal abuse of office related to the National Social Security Authority forensic audit report.
Soon after his appointment, Chasi fired the entire ZESA board for failing to appreciate the ‘urgency of the situation’ in the power and energy sector.
Chasi argued the board was detached from reality when it came to issues affecting the State power supplier.
“The challenges at ZESA are deep-seated and they need people who are hands-on, who will not wait for a quarterly meeting or monthly meeting or things like that. So I will be looking around for men and women of integrity who have experience; proven, not academic persons,” Chasi said then.
Since then, the country’s electricity situation has deteriorated further with citizens now forced to endure up to 18hrs of power-shedding.