President Peter Mutharika has been accused of giving “wrong” information to parliament when he told the August House that the worsening electricity blackouts, which have heavily dented his rule, is due to failure by the previous administrations to invest in the energy sector, adding that his administration has lined up medium and long-term interventions to deal with the challenges.
In his 30-minute address titled ‘Rising Above Macroeconomic Stability’, Mutharika said:“Let us be honest to admit that we did not invest to expand our energy generation. For 50 years, we kept thinking as if Malawi would remain what it was in the1960s.’
However, Nation on Sunday newspaper reports that a simple analysis of power upgrades on Escom website, www.escom.mw would show that past administrations have been upgrading the power stations from as early as 1966 to as late as 2014.
The paper a.so quote Institute of Policy Interaction (IPI) executive director Rafiq Hajat saying that the President, as a master of a ship in an ocean, must do everything within his power to gather correct facts.
He said citizens always expect their leader to be honest, and on top of things, warning that it paints a bad picture of the President, and his government, when he tells the nation something not factual.
“It would be a lie to say for the past 50 years no investment was made in the power sector. It doesn’t have to take anyone to explain that what the President meant was that the nation did not invest to expand energy generation for the past 50 years. This is not correct,” Nation on Sunday quoted Hajat as saying.
He said Mutharika should have acknowledged efforts the previous administrations put to improve the power generation.
Major and noticeable upgrades, according to the Escom website, were done in 1980, 1986 and 1992, when Kamuzu’s administration added to the grid 120MW through Nkula B Power Station.
In 1996, under Bakili Muluzi’s UDF administration, Escom, through Tedzani II Power Station, according to the website, added 50MW, and an additional 4.5MW the same year through Wovwe Power Station in Karonga.
Under the same UDF administration, an investment in power generation was made through Kapichira Power Station, which brought 128 MW to the grid.
The current installed capacity for electricity is 351MW, but of late it has fallen to 160MW, which Escom, says has led to the current power crisis, it reported.
As President Mutharika entered the august House on Friday to deliver his opening address, opposition parliamentarians, booed him, forcing Speaker Richard Msowoya to restore order—reminding the House that noise would not be tolerated.