Wednesday, July 15, 2009

POWER ALL DAY - EVERYDAY

It has been reported in the media that residents of Zomba City took to task the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM)over the frequent electricity blackouts the city is experiencing. I totally agree with the idea of meeting the electricity providers but how the meeting in Zomba ended does not impress me.

Instead of giving the Zomba residents what they are demanding, power all day - everyday, ESCOM officials fed them with their everyday excuses that they publish in the media. They even had to seek the intervention of their Corporate Spokesperson, Kitty Chinseu to explain to the angry residents why they were not having power throughout.

It is a known fact that the frequent blackouts are affecting our day to day lives, alot of companies are losing money, and in some cases lives are being lost in hospitals because of these. In some cases foreign companies are afraid of investing in the country because of these frequent blackouts.

Much as i applaud people from Zomba for raising their concerns, I believe this is a national disaster that needs to be addressed very soon. Energy is one priority area that the President outlined in his State of the Nation address but very little is being done on the ground. One can argue that more time is needed to deal with this issue but alot of time and money have already been wasted.

Maybe its time now that the general public joined together and addressed our concerns to ESCOM. Last year we saw a rare public unity in demanding Parliament to pass the budget. People had to camp at the Parliament Building for several days to force honorable members to pass the budget. I think if we take the same way in forcing ESCOM to give us power all day and everyday, things will change.

We are always told of load shedding, machine breakdowns, silt and many excuses which have been there for many years. Should we say that we have no long term solutions to the problems we face? This is a serious matter and needs to be addressed very urgently. If we are serious of developing our country, turning it from an importing nation to an exporting nation, we need power all day - everyday.

I urge the Consumer Association of Malawi and other civil society organisations to strongly condemn ESCOM and mobilise people against this power utility company. We can even march to present a ultimatum demanding power throughout. This is a problem that is affecting every Malawian from the city to the village and needs urgent attention.