Zesa frustrates Budiriro Bakery

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has for the past six months delayed the dispatch or an assessment team to Budiriro bakery in Buhera - delaying completion of the electrification of this income-generating initiative.

Co-operative members have been waiting for Zesa to inspect the installation of electricity at their bakery since December. The inspection is required before they can start using the building.

“We are still baking bread the traditional way, using underground ovens,” said Rangarirai Muchandibaya, the co-operative chairperson.

Budiriro co-operative last year received a $1,000 donation from a reader of The Zimbabwean, Steve Mckechnie, who had been moved by their plight following the publication of their story entitled ‘Help us realise our dream’. The group’s venture had been lying dormant because they could not raise $800 needed to electrify the premises.

For the past two months, Zesa public relations manager Fullard Gwasira has consistently refused to shed more light on why Zesa is not attending to the matter – promising to respond but never doing so.

“Do you have shares in the bakery? This time I will get back to you. I am going to speak to the manager now and give you a response,” said Gwasira when he picked up his phone last week. He has not answered any calls since then.

An electrician from Buhera who requested anonymity said, “The officers at Zesa Chipangai want to be bribed. If you do that they will attend to the place as soon as possible.”

Cooperative member Hilda Chibanda said the Zesa delay was costing them a lot of money. “The assumption was that as soon as we electrified this bakery, then we would have electricity switched on. Our livelihoods are dependent on this initiative and to imagine that we are still using wood to bake buns and bread and yet the bakery was electrified last year beats all logic,” she said.

Chibanda called on Zesa to ensure the professional conduct of its employees.

Buhera Central Member of Parliament Ronald Muderedzwa’s mobile was not reachable while Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire was not answering his phone.

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