Wicknell Chivayo the man who has become synonymous with the bungled Gwanda solar project is back in the limelight again. The famous flamboyant socialite wants the government of Zimbabwe to give him a chance to complete the Gwanda 100 MW solar project which was taken away from him by ZESA after he failed to complete the preliminary operations of the project despite being given US$5.6 in advance. It seems Chivayo is still hoping he could be allowed to complete the project.

There is nothing unusual with projects taking longer because of a lot of things like the country’s economic sanctions and solvent risks associated with our country.

Wicknell Chivayo in court in a case where he is suing ZESA for breach of contract

Chivayo claimed that the deal had collapsed, not because of him and his incompetence, but because of sanctions and negative publicity from local media houses whom he blamed for publishing lies about him. He made all these startling revelations while on the stand at the High Court where he is suing ZPC (the power generating arm of ZESA) for US$25 million for breach of contract after ZPC cancelled the US$173 million deal when it became clear Intratrek, the company owned by Chivayo had no intention of completing the project.

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A briefcase company that got a sweet deal

After failing to fulfil the preliminary portion of the deal during the tenure of the deal, Chivayo wants members of the public to believe his version of the story where he has promised to make sure he completes the first phase of the 100 MW in just six months. This is despite the fact that it took him years just to clear the land in Gwanda after being paid in US$5 million.

Sadly the deal between ZESA and Chivayo is one of the many opaque deals involving parastatals and shady briefcase companies that have zero experience and track record in the area they intend to operate. Chivayo’s Intratrek does not appear to have been more than a briefcase company with little existence in the physical world. Not only that, the company did not have much solar project experience to speak of before it was awarded the deal. It is no different from say entities like Drax and Geogenix BV who have benefited from similar deals.

In fact, it should not even come as a surprise that Chivayo wins the case against ZPC. It would also not be out of this world for him to actually be given another chance. Stranger things have happened. In the meantime, the country continues to suffer in darkness as power generation continues to be depressed and load-shedding is the order of the day.