Zambia opposition roasts govt over power cuts

Opposition political parties in Lusaka have rubbished claims from the giant power supply company, the Zambia electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) that low water levels at its hydro generation plants is the cause of massive power outages blighting the country.

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The Kariba Dam is a hydroelectric dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Kariba Dam is a hydroelectric dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Opposition political parties in Lusaka have rubbished claims from the giant power supply company, the Zambia electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) that low water levels at its hydro generation plants is the cause of massive power outages blighting the country.

ZESCO has introduced crippling power outages covering the entire country that last up to ten hours in each area, claiming poor rainfall early this year meant its hydrogenation plants are facing a deficit of about 580 megawatts and thus leading to rationing of power across the country.But opposition political parties on Thursday dismissed the claims from the power company and instead alleged that corruption and mismanagement at the power supply is responsible for the blackouts.Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) leader Edith Nawakwi who served as Energy Minister in the Frederick Chiluba government in the late 1990s charged that the state owned power supply company is facing huge financial challenges because the ruling Patriotic Front had turned the company into its “cash cow” to meet other expenses.She said this had left the company with no ability to carry out regular maintenance works and purchase much needed equipment to keep it viable and efficient.

The opposition Rainbow Party charged in a separate statement that government was to blame for the mess at the company alleging that senior government officials had received kickbacks to award a Chinese firm with a contract to rehabilitate one of the hydro generation plants resulting in a shoddy job that had compromised ZESCO’s ability to generate power.

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Opposition political parties in Lusaka have rubbished claims from the giant power supply company, the Zambia electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) that low water levels at its hydro generation plants is the cause of massive power outages blighting the country.
ZESCO has introduced crippling power outages covering the entire country that last up to ten hours in each area, claiming poor rainfall early this year meant its hydrogenation plants are facing a deficit of about 580 megawatts and thus leading to rationing of power across the country.But opposition political parties on Thursday dismissed the claims from the power company and instead alleged that corruption and mismanagement at the power supply is responsible for the blackouts.Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) leader Edith Nawakwi who served as Energy Minister in the Frederick Chiluba government in the late 1990s charged that the state owned power supply company is facing huge financial challenges because the ruling Patriotic Front had turned the company into its “cash cow” to meet other expenses.She said this had left the company with no ability to carry out regular maintenance works and purchase much needed equipment to keep it viable and efficient.

The opposition Rainbow Party charged in a separate statement that government was to blame for the mess at the company alleging that senior government officials had received kickbacks to award a Chinese firm with a contract to rehabilitate one of the hydro generation plants resulting in a shoddy job that had compromised ZESCO’s ability to generate power.

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