Civil society organisations (CSO) on Wednesday led street protests on critical issues if national importance including the prevailing extended power outages and petitioned Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to end the blackouts that is affecting the economic fabric of the nation.
The protestors who carried placard which read ‘Escom Mwalephera’ [Escom you have failed us] also demanded, among others, that President Peter Mutharika should make a special national address on the electricity crisis.
Despite the low turnout estimated at about 100 people, the petitioners presented a five-point petition which also demand that Parliament should summon chief executive officers of Escom and Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) to account for their actions.
They also demand the institutional forensic audit of ESCOM and Egenco in order to unearth the real challenges making the companies underperform and fail Malawians.
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya presented the petition to Escom acting regional manager (Centre) McVitty Chiphwanya.
Meanwhile, Nyasa Times understands that Egenco plans to airlift diesel-powered generators with a capacity of six megawatts (MW) and a 30MW from India before the end of the year.
Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya said the generation capacity will be negatively affected until water levels in Lake Malawi and its sole outlet, Shire River, home to over 90 percent of Egenco’s hydro-electric power stations, improved.
Escom, the distributor of electricity, has messed up the procurement of generators that were expected to add 78 MW to the national grid to minimise the intensity of current blackouts
In November 2016, President Mutharika, as part of short-term intervention measures into the power supply crisis, told the nation that Escom would acquire diesel-operated generators on lease basis for an initial estimated period of 18 months.
But the botched transaction has not only just affected electricity users, but also failed to meet one of Mutharika’s key objectives of his electricity agenda.
Malawi power generation woes have moved from bad to worse with a loss of 20 megawatts (MW) within a week, a situation that has prompted a drastic load shedding programme with some parts of the country staying without power over 24 hours.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :