Josh Chifamba

Joshua Chifamba, who is popularly known as Josh Chifamba is the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings. He is an engineer by profession, who recently completed his Masters Degree in Business Management. He has been in the energy supply industry for more than 20 years.


Chifamba joined ZESA Holdings in the early 1990s when he was the Area Manager of the Western part of the country.[1] During his tenure, Chifamba was credited for muting the idea of prepaid metering system in the country.[1] He was permitted by the ZESA Board to conduct a pilot project and it turned out to be a success. In 1998, the board finally agreed to implement and or introduce the prepaid metering system in the whole country.[1] During the same year, Chifamba was involved in the formulation of the White Paper project with the sole aim of trying to improve and or reform the electricity supply industry in the country.[1]

In 1997, Chifamba was appointed as the Managing Director of the Customer Service Department.[2] This was necessitated by his competence as a leader. Unfortunately, Chifamba's post was relinquished in 2001 and he became a full time consultant.[2] Between 2002 and 2003, he was selected to be a member of the ZESA's Board of Directors. He however relocated to Lesotho in 2004 and he subsequently joined the Lesotho Electricity Company.[1] He was incorporated into its SAD-ELEC team. In February 2006, he was appointed to be the Deputy Managing Director of the team.[1]

In 2011, Chifamba was appointed to be the CEO of ZESA Holdings and he signed a three year term contract. Upon his appointment, Chifamba was faced with a daunting task as the company was owed about millions by its customers and it also had arrears amounting to US$100 million.[2] Chifamba was determined to reduce the inefficiencies in local generation and he initiated new projects such as the Kariba South Power Extension and the Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Power Stations.

His Re-appointment

Chifamba's contract expired on 31 January 2014. The then Minister of Energy and Power Development Dzikamai Mavhaire however extended Chifamba's contract adding six more months.[3] Mavhaire's argument was premised on the view that the board which was chaired by Dr Herbert Murerwa was yet to agree on Chifamba's future. He however hinted that his re-appointment was not certain because of many outstanding issues which Chifamba was supposed to disclose to the board. For instance, in 2013, the board acquired and despatched US$35 million to ZESA meant for the procurement of equipment to revamp the parastatal.[4] Chifamba was yet to report back to the board though he had purchased the required equipment from India.

Chifamba was also implicated in the PowerTel Communications scandal which saw the appointment of Dr Dennis Magaya in defiance of the State Procurement Board.[5] In the wake of this, there was a public outcry for the ouster of Chifamba as early as February 2014 whose contract had expired in January.[5] Chifamba was however exonerated from the scandal.

More to this, the Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union (ZEWU) also demanded the ouster of Chifamba on the basis that he was an insensitive and selfish leader. He was accused of neglecting the social welfare of the workers. Chifamba was also accused of fuelling divisions amongst workers by creating parallel unions.[6] The union also highlighted that since his tenure as the CEO, many senior employees had been sacked on unfounded grounds.[6]

Eyebrows were also raised over how much Chifamba was earning as a result of the salary gate scandal which rocked the country in February 2014. It became an open secret that executives of parastatals were looting revenues generated by such companies at the expense of the workers. People like Cuthbert Dube, Happyson Muchechetere amongst others were exposed. It was reported that the advisor of ZESA Holdings was pocketing US$44 000 as his monthly salary and Chifamba was also pin pointed as someone who was also earning a mega salary.[7] Hence people especially ZESA employees were calling for his ouster.

Notwithstanding this, the ZESA Management and Board agreed unanimously to extend Chifamba's contract up to 2018. The extension of his contract was reportedly based on the argument that he was supposed to complete the projects he had initiated during his first tenure.[3]

Prepaid Meter Scandal

An audit by the Auditor General revealed that the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) accepted a wrong consignment of prepaid meters destined for South Africa. The audit also revealed that 10 426 of the 502 858 deployed by ZETDC had failed as of May 20 2016, which was well above the acceptable failure quantity of 1 508. The 2017 audit report prepared by Auditor General, Mrs. Mildred Chiri revealed there was no evidence that ZETDC had used results of a pilot project conducted at a cost of $1,5 million. [8]

In January 2018, ZPC shut down Munyati Thermal Power Station and Bulawayo Thermal Power Stations, with a combined capacity of 190MW, “due to electricity oversupply in the country”, an official said. However, the three remaining stations were producing in excess of 1 216MW against national demand of 1 450MW, meaning the gap was being met through imports. ZPC had been shutting down the station frequently due to problems caused by the antiquated machinery. Neither were operating for the past few weeks, according to ZPC’s power generation update. When contacted, Zesa Holdings chief executive officer Josh Chifamba said “Are we having any power cuts? Demand is being met, why should we run them?” before hanging up his phone. [9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Josh Chifamba, Zoom Info, published:5 Dec 2006,retrieved:31 July 2014"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 ZESA picks new chief executive, New Zimbabwe, published:25 Jan 2011,retrieved:31 July 2014"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Felex Share, Zesa boss’ contract renewed, The Herald, published:31 Jul 2014,retrieved:31 July 2014"
  4. Golden Sibanda, Future of Zesa boss uncertain, The Herald, published:31 January 2013,retrieved:31 July 2014"
  5. 5.0 5.1 Chorus for Eng Chifamba’s ouster grows, The Herald, published:26 Feb 2014,retrieved:31 July 2014"
  6. 6.0 6.1 ZEWU undresses Josh Chifamba in Parliament, ZEWU, published:28 Feb 2013,retrieved:31 July 2014"
  7. Phillimon Mhlanga, US$528 000 Salary For ZESA Advisor, The Financial Gazette, published:5 Feb 2014,retrieved:31 July 2014"
  8. ZESA in Prepaid meter Scandal, Published:22 January 2018 , Retrieved: 22 January 2018"
  9. ZPC shuts down 2 power stations, Newsday, Published: 29 January 2018, Retrieved: 28 July 2018