NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili
NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili

By Frazer B. Musonda
In a recent news item , Hon. Chishimba Kambwili was quoted as saying “Zesco lacks visionary leadership to navigate climate change”. The NDC leader went on to outline how his party “intends to tackle erratic electricity supply, blackouts and loadshedding in Zambia by using coal for power production”. Many would applaud him arguing that, that’s the kind of politics Zambia ought to be practising where opposition politicians will not only criticize but also offer solutions. He was offcourse very right about ZESCO lacking visionary leadership. Not long ago the Lusaka Province PF acting chairperson Paul Moonga revealed that disgruntled PF cadre Komaki was given a job at ZESCO and a Land cruiser. Just like District Commissioner positions, ZESCO is used by the PF government and was used by previous governments to reward cadres with jobs.

The former information minister’s proposed solution however defeats the purpose of “navigating climate change”. Proposing the building of coal power plants to cushion power outages caused by climate change shows his lack of understanding of global warming and climate change. Coal is one of the dirtiest energy carriers that emit CO2 which causes global warming and subsequently climate change. Policy directions in countries that are committed towards the fight against climate change have been inclined towards a drastic shift from coal powered plants to renewables. With plenty of sunshine in Zambia, the NDC’s energy policy should instead focus on solar photovoltaics (PVs).

Solar PVs outperform coal power plants both from environmental and economic perspectives. The levelized cost of electricty from coal power plants ranges between $0.09-0.11/kWh. Solar PVs on the other hand have a levelized cost of electricity ranging between $0.04- 0.07/kWh. With the current prices for electricity in Zambia, both solar PVs and coal fired power plants would run at a loss. That is where government subsidies which are a drain on the treasury come in. The PF government is scared of becoming unpopular by increasing electricity tariffs to cost reflective levels. Low tariffs on the other hand hamper investments into generation capacities because no investor would want to have zero or minimal returns on their investment. The levelized cost of electricity from hydro power plants is the lowest. That explains why whenever they intend to invest into new generation capacity, government invests into hydro power plants. But when the reduction in the capacity factors for hydro power plants as a result of reduced rainfall in Zambia is factored into the calculations for levelized cost of electricity, solar PVs could actually even be competitive.

Perhaps Hon Kambwili should have pointed out that the tax payer’s money that the PF misuse for things such as the 42 Fire engines, the recently acquired presidential jet, PF cadres on government entourages abroad, corruption in the awarding of road contracts e.t.c. could instead have been channeled towards the establishment of solar power plants. That to me would have been one of the prudent ways the PF could have invested unlike some of the unnecessary road projects they have done to get kick backs.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. The issue of lack of sustainable power in a country like zambia which has abundant water and solar sources, is plainly due to lack of innovative thinking by those in the PF government. Whilst our friends in cold climates have taken advantage of alternative sources of energy, the PF in zambia have put all their efforts in theft of public funds under the pretence/disguise of infrastructure development. The pf have gone on to corruptly award contract for roads in exchange for inducements. As my swiss wife says, we need to only allow those with grade 12 certificate and above to vote in elections.

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    • The pompwes to whom he was one of until they fired him. The pompwes that he was comfortable with while they gave all road & building tenders to the Chinese. The pompwes that he belonged to as long as they also gave him construction jobs (as a sitting minister) & all was well. They only became pompwes after they fired him & stopped paying him for his government tenders. Then they became bad. Then the Chinese became bad. And Zambians are applauding & supporting.

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  2. AHHH! Ba MUsonda, you have left out the “Nuclear Option” as an alternative. I understand the PF government have engaged a country with one of the poorest nuclear safety records (Russia) to undertake this programme in one of the countries with the poorest public safety records (Zambia)

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    • I dont think our Government would invest in nuclear power because such are very long term projects completed over a long period of time…ours are projects to win us next election

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    • To the contrary.. Russians are the expert in nuclear energy. Most of the their power depends on that

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  3. The Author may have a point BUT HE NEEDS TO REALIZE THAT OUR CARBON FOOT PRINT AS A COUNTRY IS VERY LOW, so using coal to generate electricity ESPECIALLY when we cannot get enough from hydropower is still fine for us! What the Author has NOT explained in SIMPLE LANGUAGE is the difference in the amount of investment required between Solar and Coal fired plants to generate the same amount of electricity and comparison of the time each mode may take from commencement to commissioning! THERE MAY BE PROS AND CONS that readers may need to know!ZESCO ENGINEERS MAY HAVE THE VISION BUT THE POLITICIANS HAVE BEEN SABOTAGING THE COMPANY AND THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA DUE TO THEIR GREED!!

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  4. I was listening to BUFFOON CK’s radio phone-in a few days ago and this man was there explaining in detail and in a layman’s language even in using bemba proverbs the meaning of liquidation even giving pros and cons …why LAZY LUNGU should rescind his decision. This is what PF and Lazy Lungu should have been doing but alias the man is utterly useless as they come can not even host a press conference to reassure inventors and CB miners. CK was there taking calls from people who have just come up from a shaft in the mine wanting to know what liquidation is ….i commend CK’s strategic here he has seen that PF’s weakness is transparency and accountable to add insult he also undressed their miner’s reps and implored them to look for new reps.CK was there encouraging Zambians to wake up…

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    • CK was there encouraging Zambians to wake up from their docility like I have always done…they just like to sit and wait even when someone is stealing their money.
      Keep up the work NDC, I can see you wining more seats in CB.

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    • Hi Jay! On which radii station was that interview?? And is the interview available anywhere in recorded form??

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    • Go to his Facebook page “Dr. Chishimba Kambwili” and choose video aired on 25th May 2019

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    • No …I dont warm up to nobody ..I just take notice when someone is talking sense especially when it leads to kicking out this incompetent man in State house who thinks presidency is just simple job you can do without any accountability or vision!!

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  5. It’s amazing how we as a people (Zambians) done taken responsibility for our actions or lack of but are able to blame and want to change government. I think we need to change the way we use electricity (and water). I have noted many times we always live lights on, TV is on but there are no people at home, kuonta stove! I’m not excusing our political leaders just saying lets do our parts too. The debate in issue is important.

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  6. One of the biggest moral crimes pf committed is not sanitising and encouraging the public to comit to domestic solar power generating systems , for house holds and small businesses.

    If they had done this in a coherent and systemic way, there could have been more money to spend on the economy by individuals and small businesses from the savings on power costs and Zesco would have more power to export.

    May it was just plain hopelessness or a strategy to keep Zesco afloat , Zambia is worse off without widespread independent domestic solar capacities

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  7. Shallow minded people will never say the truth. The power problem we have now us due to lack of investment into this sector in the past. PF in the short time they have been in power have done a lot. They have constructed new hydro plants, they have started solar plants, they added a coal plant and the lower Kafue is in progress. Once all these start working the country shall have enough power.
    These can however not be done over night. Give praise where it is due. PF is thinking ahead of most of you.

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    • How long have PF been in power ? 8 , 7 years .?. And $17 billion in debt later , we still have load shedding ???

      How much longer for load shedding to end ?? After 16 years and $30 billion in debt ??

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  8. He is a retard, coal has contributed to the climate change which had now become a wicked problem.Many nations are avoiding coal and promoting clean energy .This makes a distinction between a real Dr and honorary Dr

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    • Coal is none started and retrogressive when the world is moving towards cleaner much efficient energy

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  9. The technology of solar to power industries like mines is far fetched even full domestic heating and lighting Zambian household cannot afford. Only lighting rooms.

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  10. Zambian people talking too much like big dogs today ck is good tomorrow hh is good

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  11. Instead of PF this. PF that which of the opposition leaders have renewable sources of energy at their homes? My guess is none. All of them have diesel generators as back up sources. As Zambians it will do us a lot of good to practice what we preach. But for some one to advocate coal in this generation speaks volumes.

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  12. Zambia as a country has been around before many of us were born and this question of the PF failing to provide alternative source of power is not only unfair but also illogical. Suppose Kambwili became president will he all of a sudden create these sources? As part of the PF membership who hoodwinked us into voting for them, why didn’t he as part of government create these sources? Come on people, it’s this type of behavior of following anyone as long as he is attacking the PF. Talk he can talk but action is another thing. Sata soon after being sworn in gave instructions to his brother in law from Zesco that loadshedding should be a thing of the past. Is it a thing of the past?

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  13. THE MEANING OF BAPOPWE IS TRANSLATED AS THIEVES IN ENGLISH,AS FAR AS I KNOW IF DR.KAMBWILI WAS NOT TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT PF BEING BAPOPWE HE COULD BE DRAGGED TO COURT BY NOW BY THE PF REGIME BY BEING ACCUSED AS BAPOPWE BUT SILENCE TELLS IT ALL.
    VIVA CK,VIVA KAMBWILI.

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  14. Ba CK you are not consistent, be focused today say one thing tomorrow you say something else. Twanaka imwe you are a not a patriotic Zambian.

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