PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Anthony Bwalya says President Hakainde Hichilema is aware of the load shedding which has rocked the country and feels the pain of ordinary citizens.

And Bwalya says the COVID-19 war needs to be won if the country the jobs which were promised are to be created.

Speaking during a special interview on Radio Phoenix, Monday, Bwalya said Zesco needs to move towards smarter ways of managing and detecting faults on their grids.

“I know citizens have been talking about the power situation, I am not speaking for Zesco, I am not speaking for the Ministry of Energy or the ERB but can I just say that this issue of power cuts affects all of us. I know it’s an issue that we must sort out as a country if we are to see steady, sustainable economic growth and development. SMEs can’t function when there is no electricity so the President does feel the pain that the ordinary Zambian feels when there is power disruption like it happened a few days ago, it was unthinkable,” Bwalya said.

“I want to assure the Zambian people that the conversation that needs and absolutely needs to be taking place right now is that we need to be moving towards smarter ways of predicting and managing faults. This is 2021; you cannot be getting caught unaware. I am not an engineer but I think we can innovate around that. When people are sending machines to space, managing our energy grid should be something that should be within our grasp. The President feels the pain of the ordinary people; I feel they need to hear that. It’s not that the President hasn’t heard or he doesn’t know what has been happening, he does know and he interested and he is keen on ensuring that we find lasting solutions to the endless issues of power cuts. This country can’t afford it as we are looking to rebuild, to reconstruct we must ensure a steady supply and flow of electricity to businesses and to our households, it is that critical.”

And when asked whether the continued power cuts were as a result of maintaining the same Zesco officer bearers, Bwalya said those with a duty to ensure that the country has a steady flow in the supply of electricity owed the country a duty of care and responsibility.

He said cleaning out the system would take time but added that the President was guaranteeing Zambians systematic and productive change that would benefit them.

“Think of an old machine, it’s clogged with dirt, you need to stretch your hand down the machine, you need to put your head in, you need to get your hands really dirty for you to clean it out, it takes a bit of time and it was always going to take a bit of time. The change that we are proposing to bring, the change the President is guaranteeing the Zambian people is systematic change, productive and constructive change. He is not going to make decisions in a manner that is haphazard because he does that in a populist manner, when things come falling down, they will be crashing the most vulnerable in this country. The president is focused on correcting systems and how systems work before we get to deciding where do we put Luchi? If the system is broken, it doesn’t matter who you are going to appoint to what position, nothing is going to work,” Bwalya said.

And Bwalya said it would be impossible to actualise the progressive provisions of the 2022 budget if COVID-19 grounded the economy to a halt.

“We must win the fight against COVID-19, a few weeks, I think two weeks ago, the new administration just presented a phenomenal budget when you look at it but that budget cannot and will not be executed in a vacuum. If we are going to allow a situation where COVID-19 runs rampant and runs riot and grounds this economy to a halt, we will have great difficulty actualising on the promise of the jobs that we are saying we are going to create, there will be no jobs. If we allow COVID-19 to run rampant and run riot in our communities, there will be no opportunities, the kind of opportunities that we are envisaging that the new budget is going to deliver,” said Bwalya.

“The K25.7 million constituency development fund, unprecedented by all accounts, will not happen if we allow this economy to die because we cannot just manage and get a good grip on COVID-19. This is how serious it is. When Roma sits here and when the president stands on the podium and says go out and get vaccinated it is critical, it is that crucial to the process of rebuilding and reconstructing the economy. There are no two ways about it.”