Mugabe to Blame for Zimbabwe’s Excessive Power Cuts- ZANU (PF)’ spokesperson

By Prince Kurupati

Late President Robert Mugabe was Zimbabwe’s leader for several decades

Every single day, most communities in Zimbabwe especially the high-density areas go for 18+ hours without electricity. In some extreme cases especially in peri-urban and rural communities, they can go for two or three days without electricity only for the power to be restored for a few hours before they go for days once again without power.

The dire electricity shortage situation in Zimbabwe has led to many debates and arguments amongst the powers that be at the top governance levels as well as the general citizenry. However, the most bizarre of arguments came from the ruling party ZANU (PF)’ spokesperson Cde Chris Mutsvangwa who blamed the late president Robert Mugabe for the crisis.

In an interview with the South African news channel eNCA, the ruling party’s spokesperson said, “The power crisis the country is currently facing is a product of years of neglect within Zimbabwe. The mismanagement has ham-fisted the economic management of the last two decades of Mugabe and his G40s. Obviously, it has a negative pull, it is retarding the speed of recovery but you cannot doubt that recovery is going on.”

Though Zimbabwe has had perennial power shortages, the situation worsened in recent weeks after the announcement by the Zambezi River Authority that the country had used its entire allocation of water (at Lake Kariba) for power generation purposes for the year.  It is Lake Kariba’s hydropower which contributed significantly to the daily power generation of 1100 MW in the past weeks. With operations forced to the bare minimum at Lake Kariba, the country is now producing only 500MW per day from its other energy-generating projects against a daily demand of 2300 MW hence the excessive load shedding.

A quick end to the power crisis is not a possibility as alternative power generation projects in the country need many years to become operational. Looking at the possible alternatives, Victor Utedzi who is an energy expert said “There is no easy and quick solution to power problems… A simple PV solar power plant (takes) three to four years (to set up). Thermal power plants, to plan and raise financing to build, takes about a decade. A project like Batoka (Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station) – our energy regulator says to expect it in 10 to 15 years. These are the large projects you need to dent the problems we are facing. You never come out of it in a short period of time.”

The other quick-fix solution is to import power. However, the situation on the ground makes it a tough task for Zimbabwe’s power utility as it has come out saying that it’s broke. A bail-out from the government will probably be the only way importing power to meet the country’s needs be feasible. However, there is still the hurdle of competing with South Africa as the neighbouring country is also facing its power problems.

For the ordinary citizens, therefore, those who can’t afford to install solar systems or buy generators, the only hope is to wait for the rains and hope that Lake Kariba will fill to capacity hence the country can start generating hydroelectric power.

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