Power and energy situation: Government must declare state of emergency

The MDC is deeply concerned about the worsening power black-outs and fuel shortages in the country. The country is grappling with severe power and fuel shortages which have affected households and what is left of our industry, culminating in a severe transport crisis and the introduction of punishing load-shedding schedules, especially during peak hours. The 19-hour long load shedding schedule that citizens and businesses are subjected to, is abusive and unjustified given the fact that the sole energy supplier Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has been spending lots of public resources on projects that are divorced from electricity generation.

The MDC calls upon government to declare the energy situation a national emergency. After the declaration of a state of emergency, government must convene a Stakeholders Conference on Energy production comprising government, prospective investors, independent power producers, development partners and relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, amongst others, in order to establish short, medium and long term solutions to this national crisis. An honest admission to failure, incapacitation is not a sign of weakness but strength. No serious investor be it local or foreign can commit money in a country that does not guarantee a steady and uninterrupted supply of fuel and electricity. In light of the current fuel and energy crisis that is turning away investors, the Zanu PF mantra of Zimbabwe is Open for Business rings hollow. Electricity and fuel drive industrial production and erratic supply of the two products simply drives away investors.

The MDC believes that government, through Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), must speed up the end of ZESA’s monopoly in the distribution of electricity and bring in competition into the sector. Competition is the mother of efficiency.

In recent years, ZERA has processed countless applications by potential investors to invest in methane gas and solar energy generation, amid indications that the lower generation costs for the renewable energy source – compared to thermal and hydro-electricity – is the major attraction. However, only a handful are currently operational. The MDC condemns the continued increase in the prices of fuel which is disproportionate to the increase in salaries of the working people of Zimbabwe. We believe that, because transport is a critical aid to trade, fuel must be affordable to ordinary citizens; hence our bold call for a declaration of a state of emergency on the sector.

We demand a proactive multi-stakeholder approach to this energy crisis. MDC: Change that Delivers.

Hon Jasmine Toffa MDC National Secretary for Energy and Power Development  Mobile +263772303355 30 July 2019