Zesco cannot blame the current power crisis on low water levels in reservoirs like Kariba Dam. The crisis was predictable and should have been foreseen. Now we face the real and continued prospect of job losses, business failure and reduced productivity. This is hitting the small business owner and struggling entrepreneur particularly hard at a time when there has been so much economic hardship already under the PF Administration.
Zesco’s woes are entirely a man-made problem that can be summed up in four letters: GAIP:
- poor Governance;
- poor Accountability;
- lack of Investment;
- poor Planning.
Zesco has had numerous changes of leadership over the years at managing director and board of director level. Each time there have been changes, people have been appointed to serve the interests of the political masters of the day resulting in heavy abuse of Zesco’s assets and poor oversight. Through the years, Zesco has been heavily relied upon by ruling party officials in various ways to assist their candidates in elections, whether through the hiring of planes and vehicles, the awarding of dubious contracts or the hiring of ruling party faithful as casual and non-casual workers. There is no reason to suspect that such abuse has ended.
There is a way to empower Zambians; create jobs for everyone and deal with the power crisis. However, if we are to solve the problems of load shedding, we need first to have an full and independent inquiry of Zesco stretching back over the last 20 years. This will help us to understand better how the lack of controls and poor oversight can be avoided as we move forward.
Zesco should be subjected to a combined independent parliamentary and civil society inquiry to determine and put in place measures to prevent any current or future abuse of its assets.
PF are in power now. They have no business giving excuses for the poor planning around current power demand which has been known about for decades. They can offer no excuse for the lack of political will to allow private investment in new power generation which would have saved us from the current crisis.
There can be no excuse for the lack of research and investment into alternative forms of power generation which would not only have cushioned the load shedding but would have given rural communities greater access to electric energy that currently only 3 per cent of them enjoy.
Zesco and Zambia’s problems boil down to just one thing: leadership. NAREP looks forward to the day when we stop electing politicians and decide to elect leaders. That will be the day we shall see the end of load shedding and the numerous economic problems we are facing. The sooner we all wake up to this reality, the better for us, our children and our children’s children.
Elias C. Chipimo, Jr
National Restoration Party