We have argued from the the onset that increasing electricity tariffs again in order to allow Zesco to import emergency power would have the same impact on the economy as not having power at all. We warned that increasing tariffs would in turn increase the cost of doing business and the cascading effect of that would see an escalation of the cost of living for the ordinary citizens.
We made these arguments because in our view, we considered this energy crisis a man-made issue. It was man-made because there are people who are paid to look into the future and make projections on where the country’s electricity demand will stand in years to come. They saw this problem but they did nothing about it because they considered it a business opportunity.
Look where we are now! Zesco has spent US$27 million to import air from South Africa and has made people pay for it. Air which we have in abundance here in Zambia has been imported in the name of electricity which people can’t see. This is air because there is no power to talk about that has been imported from Eskom.
The Minister of Energy promised citizens that the electricity from Eskom would reduce the amount of load-shedding, but nothing has changed and the one month they paid for has since elapsed. The CEO of Eskom has had to resign on account of load-shedding in his own country, yet our Zesco bosses and their politicians who promised manna from Eskom are walking the streets with their heads high after plunging the country into darkness.
People must learn to be accountable for their deeds. How will this government turn around the economy when they are killing consumers and small business enterprise owners? How will they bring down the cost of living if the production cost of mealie meal is going up?
Probably, the most importantly question Zesco must answer is, how do you increase the price of a commodity which you don’t have? It’s like a shop increasing the price of bread which they don’t stock and when customers pay, they are told to wait until a bakery is built so that it can start producing bread. Does that make sense?
Really, it is mind boggling to see this shop called Zesco which has no electricity in stock for people to buy and consume, increasing the tariffs not by 20 or 30 per cent but by 200 per cent. Surely this business strategy is evil and criminal. No one sustains a business by making people pay for a service that is not available and with no guarantee of it being produced.
Those in power must desist from governing with lies. It doesn’t kill to admit failure and those who have failed should emulate the Eskom CEO and resign. The energy crisis that we are flirting with has dire long term consequences that will cause even worse suffering for generations to come.
Because of incompetence, poor planning and lies from the PF government and its Zesco management, Zambia is losing trees to charcoal at a rate that it cannot sustain. When you stand by any highway that leads into Lusaka City from any direction between 20:00 hours and 05:00 hours, you are very guaranteed to see a truck overloaded with charcoal to an extent that you can’t see the truck anymore, all you are seeing is a moving mountains of charcoal.
Zambians have mastered this pattern of lies and false promises from Zesco and they have been left with no option but to find alternative sources of energy. They will not let Zesco kill them.
Now, we are talking about a country that is already blaming everything bad going on in government on climate change. We are talking about a Zesco that is blaming its failure to generate power on low rainfall. Yet they want to keep increasing electricity tariffs so that those who have been persevering can be forced to join those who are depleting forests in search of charcoal. What a shame!