ADD president Charles Milupi says it’s ridiculous for Zesco managing director Victor Mundende to claim that he resists political interference at the parastatal, when he is a product of political appointments himself.
Last week, Mundende told the Parliamentary committee on parastatal bodies that although Zesco faces political interference, the firm was being run by professionals who could not take political orders. He said even if a politician ordered him to employ someone, he would not do it.
But Milupi wondered where Mundende attended job interviews for his position, for him to claim to have been professionally employed.
“That’s ridiculous. Who doesn’t know that parastatal appointments are made on political ground starting from the managing director himself? And that’s why every administration that comes in, they remove the managing director. Can he ask himself why every administration that comes they remove the managing director? Sometimes within the same administration change of the minister responsible results in the change of their parastatal chief. Including ZESCO itself,” Milupi said.
“If he is talking about professionalism, can he tell us which interviews he went to and who interviewed him to get that job as managing director? And how come these parastatals are not performing the way they ought to be performing in terms of generating revenues, generating profit for the shareholders who are the Zambian people? What’s the return on investment on ZESCO? If they are claiming that it’s being run on professional line let him tell us what is the return on investment and how much have they declared to the shareholders compared to senior organisations in the private sector.”
He said Zesco was struggling to even fight the weather and keep customers connected during rains.
“How come we have situations where whenever we have clouds, we are going to have blackouts in certain parts of the country? How come we are running out of water in dams like Kariba. We have just come out of a very serious program about a year ago when electricity was being rationed because we ran out of water. Even the Engineering Institution of Zambia was saying that there was something wrong in the way the operations were,” he observed.
Milupi challenged Mundende to translate his professionalism into profitable service delivery.
If he is claiming that his management team are very professional, we want to see professionalism in the way they deliver service. As Zambian shareholders, we want to see the investment that the Zambian people have made in that institution. We want to see that instead of spending over 70 percent of the revenue on emolument, it is brought in line with the world benchmark. That’s what Professionals would do. So what professionalism is Mundende talking about? That’s why I’m saying that statement is too ridiculous,” said Milupi.
“We have seen people being retired. Some in the so called national interest. People who are very young and who are professional. So how come people are being retired on regional basis? Is that not political? That is tribal. They shouldn’t think that what is happening is hidden to us citizens. Its not hidden, we can see a number of people being retired. And they are spending vast amounts to pay these people off. The reason why people are not being quoted is that they are being paid vast amounts for them to go away quietly. No company which runs on professional basis can be doing the things we see happening. And there are issues of cadres that have been employed. Zambians are not fools. There people’s wives who have been employed, there are cadres who are on payroll there. So before he claims professionalism we want to see ZESCO cleaned up and whether or not it is professional will be determined by their performance against well known world benchmarks of the electricity industry.”