Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday urged lawmakers, cabinet ministers and senior government officials who owe power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority to pay up.
He said this would avoid plunging the parastatal into a worse financial situation and therefore more power blackouts, affecting business and ordinary people.
Mr. Tsvangirai said politicians should understand that the culture of getting services for free must come to an end. He said service delivery is being hampered in many areas in the country because senior officials are not paying their dues.
He said inter-parastatal debt has risen to more than $600 million and it is now affecting the operations of state companies.
The Daily News recently reported that top government officials, including President Robert Mugabe, owe ZESA huge sums of money in unpaid bills.
Asked why the government is not giving preferential treatment to former liberation war fighters to gain shares in companies through the controversial indigenization law, the Prime Minister said he believed in the broad-based empowerment of the population.
He said people should understand that indigenization does not mean grabbing so anyone with money can participate in the program. He said the empowerment law and debt continue to scare investors from the country.
Under the controversial empowerment law, foreign-owned companies must cede 51 percent of their shareholding to locals.
On media reforms, the Prime Minister said Information Minister Webster Shamu is defying a cabinet directive on media reforms. He said it was clear that Shamu was taking orders from some powerful people within ZANU-PF.
He promised to take the issue up with President Robert Mugabe and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara at their next meeting.
Asked why the government is not compensating victims of the Gukurahundi era, Mr. Tsvangirai said no policy has been put in place yet to deal with the issue, but, he added it’s a matter that must be considered.
Mr. Tsvangirai also said the government is taking measures to ensure people do not starve as some provinces have been hard hit by the drought.