24 October 2013, Harare – Clerk of the Zimbabwe Parliament Mr Austin Zvoma has written to the Registrar of the High Court and the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet demanding the return of Electricity Amendment Act 2013 which sought to unbundle Zesa Holdings into an indeterminate number of privately- owned successor companies.
The planned unbundling and privatisation – which was reportedly being orchestrated by some officials at the Energy and Power Development Ministry in collaboration with former minister Mr Elton Mangoma – would have effectively put the critical power sector into the hands of unknown Western investors picked at Mr Mangoma’s discretion.
Sources close to developments say everything was being done without the knowledge of the incumbent minister, Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire, amid reports that officers at Zesa were already working on logos for the new companies, again without the knowledge of the minister.
Cde Mavhaire refused to shed light on the matter last night, saying he does not work at night, while efforts to get comment from Mr Mangoma or Zesa Holdings were fruitless, with the former continually cutting off calls made to his mobile.
The Amendment Bill was hurried through Parliament by MDC-T legislators, who took advantage of the fact that their Zanu-PF counterparts were holed in their constituencies for the party’s primary elections.
The Bill was passed before being sent for Presidential assent, which was, however, granted after the mandatory 21 days had lapsed, making the resultant Act a legal nullity.
Section 51 of the old Constitution, which was still operational ahead of the effective date of the new Constitution, stated that:
(1) Subject to the provisions of section 52 and Schedule 4, the power of Parliament to make laws shall be exercised by Bills passed by the House of Assembly and the Senate and assented to by the President.
(2) When a Bill is presented to the President for assent he shall, subject to the provisions of this section, within twenty-one, days, either assent or withhold his assent.
The Electricity Amendment (No.5 of 2013) Act sought to repeal Section 68 of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19) which was to be replaced with a new Section 68 Formation of Successor Companies.
– The Herald