As scores of Malawians elsewhere demonstrate in protest of May 21, electoral results, Likoma Island residents Friday marched against prolonged power blackouts.
The protestors were led by Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and Likoma Pastors Union.
“We are marching as concerned citizens against these prolonged power cuts so that decision makers at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining can start taking serious action.
“We have been in these blackouts for two months now,” said Peterson Binga, chairperson for PAC.
Binga blamed Egenco head office for taking the islanders for granted by sending them overused diesel generators which break down now and then.
“What we are saying is enough is enough. The Island residents are not lesser Malawians. And we are saying Likoma is not a dump site for overused generators,” he said.
Binga said PAC and Pastors Union approached Egenco for action, only to be given lame assurances as weeks kept adding to months.
“Each time they had an excuse. Sometimes they could say the problem will be fixed next week. Sometimes they told us our engineers are bringing coils or spare part ABCD.
“This to us meant we are not a priority to the decision makers of the Energy Department and the Ministry of Natural Resources as a whole,” he said.
The protesters marched from Likoma Airport-Ngani-Jalo to the District Commissioner’s office where they delivered their petition.
Receiving the petition, District Commissioner for Likoma, Eric Nema, assured the protesters that he would personally deliver their petition to the Principal Secretary for Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining in Lilongwe. .
In an interview, Nema said it was a constitutional right for people of Likoma to march.
“I would like to thank the organizers of the protest march because it was a peaceful march and we didn’t see any strange incidences,” he said.
Likoma and Chizumulu Islands are cut off from the national electricity grid due to their geographical position.
Government erected diesel powered generators on both Likoma and Chizumulu Islands to power the two islands.
It is these generators that the residents feel are overused regardless of Egenco embarking on solar power plant projects on these islands.
The company is also said to be procuring new generators to replace or support the old ones but the residents feel something should be done in the interim.
One such resident is Chimwemwe Thundu of Choko Village in Traditional Authority Mkumpha’s area.
“The excuses Egenco is giving do not make sense. The power supply has affected the water supply by Likoma Water Users Association (LIWUA).
There is a sanitation scare as people are now drinking directly from the lake because LIWUA cannot pump enough water and we do not have boreholes here,” she lamented.
Meanwhile Egenco is waiting for technicians from the mainland to come and work on the engines.
At present there is massive load shading as the power distribution is rationed between the northern and southern grids.
The protesters have given Egenco up to 6th July, 2019 to rectify the problem saying failing which they would take unspecified actionFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :