FORMER energy minister Elton Mangoma has threatened to sue a state-run newspaper after it accused him of trying to sell-off the power utility ZESA to western investors linked to his MDC-T party.
Mangoma's lawyers, this week, demanded that the Herald retract its report and issue an unreserved apology or face a claim for defamation at the High Court.
The newspaper accused the MDC-T treasury chief of trying to unbundle and privatise Zesa which has perennially failed to meet the country's electricity requirements.
"Apart from the personal profit motive, sources say there was also a clear political motive to destroy Zesa or put it beyond the influence of Government which would then have been at the mercy of the private investors linked to the MDC-T, " read party of the report which has infuriated the senior MDC-T official.
Mangoma however said the report was full of "sensational, untrue and highly defamatory comments".
"These comments seem designed to damage the reputation of our client in the public eye and create public opprobrium towards said client," said the former minister through his lawyers, Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys.
"The story gives an impression of a clumsy hatchet job on the character of an outstanding public servant who is on record for having solved the perennial fuel crisis and had gone on to work tirelessly day and night (emphasis deliberate) to lessen the electricity shortages,” the letter reads."
New energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire has since ruled out privatisation of the power utility.
"The position is that I have no intention of dismantling Zesa. There is no way I can put Zesa in private hands," Mavhaire told the Herald.
"The only set up where we will allow private players is under the arrangement of Independent Power Producers that we have licensed."
Unable to produce enough power to meet the country's needs or raise the cash needed to plug the generation gap through imports, ZESA has resorted to rationing supplies to both domestic and commercial users for years.
Productive sectors such as mining and industry blame say power supply problems have undermined efforts to operate at optimal capacity, adversely impact efforts to ensure sustained economic recovery.