There are times when we are faced with political interference, but its what I do when I receive that instruction that matters,” says Zesco Managing Director Victor Mundende.
And Mundende says close to half of the power that Zesco generates is consumed by the mines while the other half is consumed by Lusaka alone.
Mundende said this when he and his team appeared before the parliamentary committee on parastatal bodies on Wednesday.
This came in the wake of a question from Zambezi East UPND member of parliament Brian Kambita who wanted to know how much political interference Zesco was suffering in terms of its operations.
“It is believed that your payroll costs are very high. I want to know if Zesco has a recruitment policy. If the answer is yes, how much political influence is Zesco suffering with regards to that? I say so because Zesco is almost like a dustbin where everyone who has some political influence tries to find employment for somebody connected to them,” Kambita observed.
Chirundu UPND member of parliament Douglas Syakalima followed with his rider question asking, “What makes you confident that under IDC, you will be able to work as independently as you want to think than you have been? You have the IDC which has got a board where there are ministers as well. In fact the board chairperson is the President and then you are talking about political interference. So what gives you confidence to say that IDC will be able to supervise and then you will be independent?”
In his response, Mundende said Zesco was composed of professional and seasoned members of staff who were capable of making decisions on their own.
“Zesco is run by professionals. We are professionals who know our job, we know what we are doing. However there will be all these stakeholder demands. We have no control over what stake holders demand from us but we have control of what we do. Yes there will be that political interference but its what I do when I receive that instruction, that matters,” Mundende said.
“Number two, yes the board of IDC has got some ministers as you alluded to Honorable, ministers and the President as the chairperson but what is key is the commitment that has come from the chairperson of the board who is the President of the Republic of Zambia His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. In November 2017, the IDC organised a conference with all their state owned enterprises. One of the key issues there was they told us that ‘we wont entertain anyone who says I employ this one because I received a call. They told us in no uncertain terms.”
And Mundende said out of the total power generated by the company, half of it was consumed by the Mines and another half by Lusaka alone.
“Unfortunately in this country, everyone is coming into the city, everyone is coming into Lusaka. The power that we produce, 50 percent of it or thereabout is consumed by the Mines, half of that is consumed by Lusaka. Then a quoter or so is consumed by the rest of the country. So you can see that we need to decentralise,” said Mundende.