ZESA Reinstates Whistle-Blower Workers

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By Alois Vinga

ZIMBABWE Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has reinstated eight employees who were dismissed from work last three years ago after exposing massive corrupt activities happening at the parastatal.

After their dismissal, the workers appealed against the decision to President Emmerson Mnangagwa who ordered their immediate reinstatement, but ZESA declined to carry out the order.

They were finally re-appointed this week without loss of salaries and benefits after going for months unemployed.

The employees’ umbrella body, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general, Japhet Moyo confirmed the latest development to Tuesday.

“The eight unionists who belong to our affiliate, Energy Sector Workers Union of Zimbabwe have been finally reinstated without loss of salary and benefits covering a period of almost three years,” Moyo said.

“We have been engaged in a five months long battle with ZESA authorities who were reluctant to carry out President Mnangagwa’s directive to reinstate the workers,” he said.

Moyo said the workers had a dispute arising from a Collective Bargaining Agreement reached in 2012 which ZESA had yet to implement.

“In the process of pushing for this agreement the employees came across horrendous corruption details which they informed the President about and as a result the utility’s management targeted them and illegally dismissed them,” he said.

The ZCTU secretary general highlighted that the labour federation appealed to relevant stakeholders both locally and internationally to highlight the plight of the eight workers.

They also briefed President Mnangagwa last year when they met on the sidelines on the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) and wrote several follow up letters to him when ZESA expressed reluctance to carry out the directive resulting .

The eight employees are; Florence Taruvinga, Gibson Mushunje, Admire Mudzonga, Ackim Mzilikazi, Given Dingwiza, Tariro Shumba, Stephen Moyoweshumba and Johannes Chingoriwo.

Part of the reasons, which led to their victimisation involved exposing corruption linking management and former Energy Minister, Samuel Undenge to a public relations company run by former journalist-turned prophet Oscar Pambuka and Zanu PF activist Psychology Maziwisa.

The workers also raised anomalies in the awarding of the Gwanda solar project to controversial businessman, Wicknell Chivayo without following laid-down procurement procedures and payment of the US$5 million to him without bank guarantees.

Undenge, Pambuka and Maziwisa were convicted of corruption and sentenced to prison but are out on bail after appealing against both their convictions and sentences.