Cabinet minister 'faces dismissal'

HARARE - Embattled Energy minister and acting Zanu PF chairman for Manicaland, Samuel Undenge, is in danger of being booted out from both his Cabinet and party posts, as Zimbabwe’s crippling electricity blackouts and the ruling party’s brutal factional and succession wars worsen.

Sources told the Daily News yesterday that Undenge’s political enemies within the bitterly-divided post-congress Zanu PF were using the current debilitating power shortages afflicting the country to bay for his blood — in a fraught political environment where the minister is already under pressure in Manicaland.

And as an indication of the trouble that Undenge is in, the country’s usually cautious State media, when it comes to reporting on the government and its leaders, have been unusually forthright and critical about the power shortages and the lack of resolve to deal with the crisis by the minister and his permanent secretary, Partson Mbiriri.

“I fear for Undenge. His enemies are sharpening their knives using the power cuts to agitate for his dismissal, arguing that he is doing nothing to mitigate the long-standing national crisis.

“They are also saying that he is clueless about the matter, to the extent that he is even supposedly afraid to pronounce himself on it, leaving bureaucrats to try and give direction to the nation.

“The reality, however, is that this argument is both false and expedient. It also exposes the terrible divisions and anarchy that are tearing the movement (Zanu PF) apart. I mean, what ministry or government function is not dealing with multiple crises in this country and so why pick on him?

“The fact of the matter is that everyone knows that power cuts are not new and that Undenge was given a hospital pass when he was assigned to this ministry. This is a long-standing problem for which he is not to blame,” a senior Zanu PF official close to Undenge said.

The minister has been under sustained attack in Manicaland — a politically-unstable province where he is interim ruling party chairperson — and where he stands accused of fanning factionalism by his high-ranking detractors there.

Two months ago, combative Zanu PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, was compelled to reverse a vote of no-confidence that had been passed against Undenge and after the Energy minister was booted out of the party’s provincial executive.

At about the same time, the beleaguered Undenge also launched an astonishing public attack on politburo member and Manicaland godmother Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, whom he described as both power hungry and “a sell-out”.

Muchinguri-Kashiri was said to be one of the party bigwigs who wanted to see the back of Undenge, amid further allegations at the time that the Water minister had been recorded on tape plotting the downfall of the Energy minister and other Zanu PF leaders in the province such as Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene.

Undenge claimed that Muchinguri-Kashiri and others wanted to replace him with central committee member and former provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, saying further that the push to boot him out was being fronted by people who did not understand the ruling party’s constitution.

“That is another form of Gamatox which we need to fight. We have caught the people who want to do a coup, but Zanu PF doesn’t operate that way. Zanu PF doesn’t hold a clandestine meeting like the other one where Cde Muchinguri was recorded ... If you go outside the party constitution to do illegal meetings, then that is part of selling out,” he said.

While efforts to speak to Undenge himself yesterday, to get his views on the power cuts and the push to oust him were fruitless, as he was not answering his phone and did not respond to messages sent to him, analysts said the bloodletting within Zanu PF was costing the nation dearly on many fronts.

Economist Vince Musewe told the Daily News that the punishing power outages could not be blamed on an individual, but on the culture of “reshuffling ministers constantly” to balance Zanu PF’s factional interests.

“We have had different ministers in the past years and this is what happens when you change ministers every time. Instead of doing their jobs, they will be busy protecting their turf,” he said.

Asked who then was to blame for Zimbabwe’s myriad problems, Musewe said President Robert Mugabe was ultimately the man to be taken to task as he led government and did not appear to plan for the future.

“If there is anyone to blame then it is the president, not the ministers or the tender process or the Zesa board. Mugabe is the CEO of the country and he must accept that.

“The cost of the power cuts is significant. Workers are sitting at work doing nothing and yet they have to be paid, which raises the cost of production. Imagine a big company that wants to invest in Zimbabwe, how would they come in? The cost is a big chunk of the country’s domestic production,” Musewe said.

Renowned economist, John Robertson, buttressed Musewe’s views saying the country’s already comatose economy was going to contract further due to the massive load shedding.

“This year’s GDP is going to be less than last year’s. The economy is going down and that is a contradiction to what the president said,” Robertson said.

He added that the reality was that the country would record negative growth of at “least five percent” due to among other factors, policy discord, factionalism and power cuts.

“We have so many things happening against us some of them natural but most of them man-made. They have been talking about building power stations for the past 20 years. You cannot blame a single person,” Robertson said.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said “blackouts are symptoms of a lack of vision in the higher echelons of power”.

“This has nothing to do with the minister but the government that is in power in totality. Beyond that, the lack of power also shows you the lack of light in the opponents of this government.

“I have not seen any organised group demanding accountability and the mitigation of the decay in government. It is not good enough to say that this government is bankrupt without mentioning the opposition. There is a bankruptcy of ideas all round,” Ruhanya said.

Comments (20)

you could not have put it in any other way. you are right that there is no light in both the government and opposition. there is no difference too. morgan is not democratic either. when time for him to give another came he refused. he tasted power and will not give it to any other. that has polarized the mdc. all right thinking people are shipping-off creating some kind of brain drain.

zvirozviyedzwa - 29 September 2015

This is not any individuals fault. The chaos around water and electricity problems has gone on for years. This is the fault of the entire Zanu pf. They do not have the intelligence and skills to run these operations. They are so busy on missions of self-aggrandizement, leveraging power, in-fighting and looting. The chaos is bound to continue.unabated.

Ayanda Ntsaluba - 29 September 2015

ngaaende why was he foolish enough to accept such a toxic post? he should take the flak because he wanted to chow money doing nothing.

josphat mugadzaweta - 29 September 2015

Not even a single person in zanu leadership who can even fix a an electrical globe in their houses so they are a gang of people who do not care about this country they just good at planning how to rig election . The whole of our power plants were built by Smith and they were last repaired properly that time since Smith left nothing was done to improve or conduct serious maintenance work and if it was done only those kiya kiyas connected to the party would be given tenders ahead of experienced and qualified contractors a lot of appointments of some war vets to run ZESA with no experience in even wiring for a fowl run were done and that is a lesson that you never take an idiot to be a president a country never ever never.

Diibulaanyika - 29 September 2015

Morgan is not the problem here.Lets learn to call a spade by its name.Zanu pf has had 35 years of uninterrupted rule here and the power cuts prove beyond reasonable doubt their incapability. We have had census since 1982 and every ten years thereafter. Because these guys are dull. they chose to ignore the harsh realitie s of population growth and rather chose to use populist policies without putting concrete measures to upgrade water and electricity supplies. The source of these two important resouces remain the same but houses are built everyday and the demand is growing. That will definitely push them out of power.

ma1 - 29 September 2015

This problem can't be entirely one man's making. I really believe the whole nation is to blame if we are to put it politely. Bluntly, we are all stupid. Why did we all expect that the problem would just go away? With or without Honourable Undenge the catastrophe was just waiting to happen. The current Minister has just been unfortunate as his tenure coincided with the developments at Kariba. My worry is we now spend our energies and time mudslinging instead of confronting the problem at hand. I am made to understand our neighbour Zambia are in a similar dilemma. They are likely to emerge out of it without casualties like we are likely to have at the going rate.

D. N. Munonyara. - 29 September 2015

I cant believe that people able to make $1590 in 3 weeks on the internet. have you read this web link>> www.jobscut7.com

sashaa lmep - 29 September 2015

Zimbabweans learn to show your level of education. In all this messy, why does Tsvangirai 's name always come in ? Until you know the problem , you will never fix its cause. Let him take control for one year and then criticise him for not doing enough. Its like accusing your neighbour for nzara yomumba mako. If you have better ways than Tsvangirai, wakarambidzwa kutora chigaro from ZANU PF here ? All Zimbabweans have a tendency to shift blame. Sort out the messy ? What if Tsvangirai was not there ? Form another party. Inga dzawanda wani to include Biti, Mangoma, Ncube, Madhuku etc. Why continue muchingorambira mu MDC T ? Get out and join the better parties with democracy ? You are also free to rejoin ZANU PF. Leave Tsvangirai with his dying party.

Kurai Murarame - 30 September 2015

Zimbabwe is full of failures.Just cursed.From a clueless and poor ruling party to equally idiotic opposition outfits. Money seeking morons.

Taurai Zvose - 30 September 2015

Why does the president give himself stress. Just fire this idle and clueless minister. Who care. They are just eating and dining.

Dzingai - 30 September 2015

It is not Minister's fault but his problem is telling the nation the truth thereby causing alarm and dispondency to the nation and potential foreign investors. He must be fired for telling the truth undiplomatically.

Bernard - 30 September 2015

It is not Minister's fault but his problem is telling the nation the truth thereby causing alarm and dispondency to the nation and potential foreign investors. He must be fired for telling the truth undiplomatically.

Bernard - 30 September 2015

UDENGE must come out to the public and explain on this crisis. He must stand out and give explanatin to the people so that we can have confidence in him

analysis - 30 September 2015

If MDC T is dying why is it that where ever Morgan goes its fully packed with people wanting to hear what he says question mark ngaa.Now if anyone says mdc t is dying we know that person must be a cio as we know CIOs are good at dirty games which are old fashioned childish and barbaric

Siginya mbila - 30 September 2015

Zanu pf GVT and its policies are solely the reasons for this mess. Gross mismanagement of epic proportions for straight non stop 35years. From day one no development of key areas but destructions and plunder. Existing infrastacture form Smith rigime were never maintained, replaced or improved. I will forgive sinior thieves of this country if they stop ice cream,milk, and chicken business and do real industry business like Power , Water, Health. This country requires something without Zanu pf DNA to move forward.

X-MAN IV - 1 October 2015

I just believe my fellow countryman Dlibulaanyikas sensational comments mainly border on mischief and hate than simple logical thinking.He calls the President an idiot and says all Zanu Pf leadership is doing nothing and says Smith was good in management.What one has to undestand is people are not the same as times are not the same also.To begin with Minister Undenge is just a victim of a situation he inherited since he is just some few months in office but those whos should have sorted the mess are those who were ministers of energy maybe some 6 or 8 years ago.Developing power projects can not be done overnight.Getting to Zanu Pf leadership.That is a party and it works with strict code of conduct like any other given organization of which all oblige.Others maybe forthcoming with very valid ideas but if that militates against the party code then they are not given space like we witnessed how the succession issue is being handled and atrocities that it has caused so far.If one remains Zanu pf in spite of all that does not take away his or her merit.You can not be labelled a useless person because you dwell in a community of brainless folks.Now a comparison of Smith and Cde Mugabe we need to know that whites always protected each other directly or indirectly.That kith and kin thing shall never go.That is why Britain,Australia and its allies made noise about the land reform

carson macate - 3 October 2015

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