ZESCO’S performance has been poor, energy minister Christopher Yaluma said yesterday after announcing the appointment of Victor Mundende as Zesco’s new managing director. Mundende has replaced Cyprian Chitundu, whom Yaluma said would be redeployed in the Ministry of Energy. The changes at Zesco management comes barely two days after Yaluma dissolved the power utility’s board. Asked to clarify the “rapid and unexpected changes” at the power utility, Yaluma said there was need to jack up the performance of Zesco.
“We have got 18 months in office to perform and we have to realign the performance of the company in line with our priorities,” he said in an interview, rating the performance of Zesco in the last two years as poor. Yaluma also clarified that Chitundu would be redeployed to the Ministry of Energy soon.
“We have not fired him but we will be transferring him with the same salary package,” he added. In a statement earlier, Yaluma thanked Chitundu for his contribution towards the performance of Zesco. Meanwhile, energy permanent secretary Charity Mwansa says her ministry was not privy to Chitundu’s presentation to President Edgar Lungu last week. Last Monday, President Lungu approved proposals by Zesco to freeze domestic consumer tariffs for the next two years and adjust commercial consumer tariffs to make them more cost-reflective as they were deemed pro-poor.
The move, has, however, drawn reactions from stakeholders on its commercial viability as it means a revenue gap for the power utility will be inevitable. Mwansa, however, said in an interview that her ministry was not privy to Chitundu’s presentation and as such could not adequately explain how Zesco planed to fill the revenue gap to ensure consumers were not affected by any possible operational challenges.
“Mr Chitundu went and made presentations to the new president and we were not privy to that and we also just heard it. When he made the presentation, he must have had a plan on how he is going to fill the gap because we as a ministry were also not aware of his presentation,” said Mwansa.