REA terminates Luampa electrification contract

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REA terminates Luampa electrification contract

Luampa, November 14, 2014 ZANIS—The Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has terminated the Luampa electricity substation contract with Earthrow Investments awarded in March 2013.

ZANIS reports that the termination comes despite patients continuing to die due to lack of electricity at Luampa Mission Hospital in the Western province.

Meanwhile, Earthrow Investment has sued REA over the termination of the contract.

REA Luampa substation Project Manager Edmond Mukumba confirmed the development to ZANIS during a stakeholders meeting in Luampa today.

"The electrification of the district will depend on the outcome of the court case,  as a result, REA is unable to give a timeframe as to when works will continue at the substation", said  Mr Mukumba.

Mr Mukumba pleaded with the visibly furious residents who attended the stakeholders meeting to be patient as the dispute was being settled in court and that they would be updated on the progress through the DC’s office.

And District Commissioner Alfred Miyato expressed disappointment at the outcome of events describing the whole project as a flop.

The visibly furious Mr Miyato castigated REA for not supervising the contractor from the time the  project commenced.

"Taking the matter to court means the project has failed, Luampa people wants electricity before the end of this year",  Mr Miyato said.

Mr Miyato claimed that REA through the ‘failed’substation has de-campaigned the ruling Patriotic Front in the district.

"I am not taking this lightly especially that there is a by-election coming, what will the opposition say? You want them to say government is not working?   Please go and plead with the contractor to settle the matter outside court",  said the DC.

Mr Miyato said court cases in Zambia take long to be settled and people of Luampa will continue suffering adding that REA was not innocent in the matter because they awarded the contract to incompetent individuals at the expense of tax payers money.

Meanwhile, Chief Mwenetete of the Nkoya speaking people in Luampa district said his subjects have suffered a lot due to lack of electricity in the area.

"We have found ourselves in a terrible situation, our people had hope but now we are going back to square one",  Chief Mwenetete observed.

He said the court will prolong the matter because of adjournments and may take another five years for the project to be completed while people would continue dying at the hospital.

And Luampa Mission Hospital Executive Director Sanki Chihinga added that the provision of electricity would benefit the hospital a lot as the institution would be able to operate patients, utilize oxygen machines as well as refrigerate some medicines.

The electrification of Luampa has taken eight years and Earthrow Investments promised to complete the project within six months after being awarded the contract in March 2013.

The electrification project was planned to be implemented into two phases with the first being the  construction the 11 kilo volts (KV) line which was completed in 2011 while the second phase was to construct the 66/33 2.5 mega volt ampere (MVA) substation.