MASHONALAND West provincial minister, Faber Chidarikire, allegedly blocked ZESA officials from terminating power at his Banket farm over an unpaid $25,000 bill, NewZimbabwe.com has learnt.
Sources at ZESA’s Chinhoyi office told this publication that Chidarikire has not paid for electricity at his farm over the past four years.
The farm is one of the properties which were seized from former white commercial farmers by Zanu PF bigwigs under the government’s land reforms.
“The farm is on the list of properties which have not been paying ZESA bills for a long time. So we went to the property last week with the aim of terminating power,” said a ZESA official who asked not to be named, fearing victimisation.
“However, before we switch off power we investigate the cause for the default, because at times there could be some faults in our metering or billing system, and this has been happening since we adopted the new prepaid electricity meter system.
“So we thought something was wrong. But when we got there, we discovered that the farm still uses the old system and has not yet adopted the new prepaid metering.
“In fact, we did not know that the farm was owned by the minister until we told the security guards that we were there to switch off the electricity.
“The guards told us that it was not possible for us to terminate the power and said that if we proceeded we were going to do that at our own risk because the farm was owned by a very powerful man in the province.”
The official added: “We then phoned our bosses at the office who also told us to abandon the mission and drive back.”
Chidarikire could not be reached for comment.