Mzembi reveals independent electricity producers’ licences corruptly awarded; calls for audit 

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 By Chief Correspondent

EXILED former cabinet minister, Walter Mzembi, has confirmed a widely held belief that tenders for independent power producers (IPPs) were corruptly handed out by government.

Mzembi’s comments on Twitter, come in the wake of crippling power cuts that have resigned Zimbabweans to less than 10 hours of electricity a day.

Most residences are part of power utility ZESA’s extreme load-shedding schedule that kicks off at 4am and ends towards midnight daily.

The shortage is as a result of suspension of electricity production at Zimbabwe Power Company’s (ZPC) Kariba South Hydro-Power Station and constant breakdowns at Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Harare Power Station, Bulawayo Power Station and Munyati Power Station have virtually been shut down.

With Zimbabwe having been the first country in the region to call for IPPs, expectations were high it would lead the power revolution and not fall behind its neighbours who now get considerable power from their private players.


Zambia and Mozambique get between 30% and 50% of their total power from IPPs, with Zimbabwe failing to breach the 10% mark.

“Independent Power Producer (IPP) licences awarded to the least deserving highly connected individuals are partly responsible for this energy crisis, not just in Zimbabwe but in the region,” said Mzembi.

“They are blackmailers of national interest! Major Audit required!”

Mobile Network Operator (MNO) Econet Wireless founder Strive Masiyiwa raised corruption concerns around the matter in 2009 when his organisation considered an IPP licence for its numerous bases.

Some of those awarded licences, such as controversial businessman Wicknel Chivayo, have done little to nothing to add onto the strained national grid.

About 17 of the 30 IPPs in Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority’s (ZERA) database such as Greenfuel, Triangle, Hippo Valley and Tanganda Tea are producing power for their own use.

Chivayo had been awarded a multi-million-dollar tender for construction of a 100MW solar power plant in Gwanda which he failed to.

Until this year when the High Court trashed charges against him, he had been alleged to have bribed ZPC bosses for the tender.