Some Zimbabweans, who forcibly took over farms from white commercial farmers under the country's controversial land reforms, have started engaging the state-owned power utility after failing to settle electricity bills, some as high as US$300,000.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority management confirmed Tuesday that members of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union and Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, hard-pressed by lack of funds to pay the bills, are seeking reprieve from the state entity, claiming that they are not generating a lot of income due to unreliable seasonal farming methods.
The farmers are asking ZESA to either reduce the bills or stop disconnecting power to their farms for failing to pay the required amounts.
Some of the non-paying farmers include President Robert Mugabe’s Gushungo Estates which owes ZESA US$300.000. Most members of Mr. Mugabe's cabinet and senior state officials also owe the power utility thousands of dollars.
ZESA in turn owes various entities US$800 million while consumers are failing to pay it at least US$400 million for electricity provided.
Agronomist Thomas Nherera said farmers have to craft cash flow projections which cover ZESA bills and other basic necessities.