On April 5th last year, we issued a warning on the looming load shedding the country was to endure in the coming months, http://hh-zambia.com/blog/weekly-policy-issue-zesco-continues-to-doom-zambias-economy-more-dark-days/. As usual our colleagues in the PF glossed over this very important issue.
Almost 10 months since our warning was published and regrettably President Lungu and his PF have done nothing to ameliorate the misery this power shortage has brought upon Zambians. Just as we stated in April last year, the main reason why we are experiencing load shedding is because the electricity generation system has come under severe strain due to maintenance backlogs and a failure to bring new generating capacity online to match economic and social development demand.
President Lungu and his PF hierarchy would like us to believe that load shedding is a global phenomenon. Coincidentally load shedding in Zambia started at the same time South Africa was experiencing a power deficit. South Africa immediately took remedial measures and within 100 days there was no more load shedding. As we speak South Africa is exporting power to Botswana and Namibia, where shortages last year were a knock on impact from the deficit in South Africa. Hopefully we have demystified this “global” excuse we keep hearing from President Edgar Lungu and his ministers. What is clear is the collective “global” failure by the PF to run a modern economy. Inability, inefficiency and lack of vision have nothing to do with the global phenomenon that Zambians have been fed with all the time! We need to wake up and kick out this government.
When President Lungu read his maiden speech to parliament as Head of State he promised Zambians that load shedding would be a thing of the past by the first quarter of 2016. Earlier the same President had knowingly misled the nation by announcing that load shedding would be a thing of the past by November 2015. Christopher Yaluma the then Minister of Energy had also told the nation that load shedding would end by November. This was based on an uninformed assumption that the Maamba Thermal Electric Plant would have started generating and offloading power to the national grid. Minister Yaluma was very specific in his remarks. He said Maamba station would produce 150MW by November 2015 and another 150MW by February 2016. None of this has come to pass and this is why Dora Siliya was in South Africa to sign a power deal for 300MW.
The reality is that load shedding has increased. In Lusaka some neighbourhoods have no power for more than 14 hours a day. What was expected, if indeed the problem was water levels alone, is the reduction in hours of darkness. President Lungu does not seem to know what the problem at ZESCO is and therefore cannot begin to solve the problem. He is clueless on this matter and has not made any effort to educate himself about it. We can tell you now that it does not take 5 years to fix this problem.
UPND Chairperson – Energy