Malawi’s energy minister cries during Friday’s power outage press conference

Ibrahim, Minister of Energy Matola On Friday, he broke down emotionally and shed tears in front of reporters as he recounted how the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) literally bled Escom to death for misguided buying patterns and dodgy payments and contracts, among other things.

Commenting on certain revelations made by the Managing Director of Escom, Kamkwamba Kumwenda, on anarchy and supply errors at the electricity supplier, Matola weep.

He wept over what he called possible sabotage, political influence or a simple case of negligence.

Mainly, the tears came immediately after his comment on the revelations that Escom paid K30m to buy land that doesn’t exist.

The country continues to suffer the harsh impact of persistent power outages; bringing most already struggling business operations to their knees.

He pointed the finger at politicians forcing utility companies to buy badly and circumventing laws governing business operations, being public entities.

Matola also said the previous government wasted resources on companies by using their assets such as vehicles to transport party supporters to political rallies and by drawing free fuel from other government-hired power generators like Aggreko .

He said that these embezzlements led to the reduction of the national electricity production from 444 megawatts to 235 megawatts currently.

Matola added that this scenario has affected all sectors of life, including the economy, health, education and agriculture.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Chikuni said the ministry will consult with the World Bank on the unbundling of the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi.

Chikuni said the ministry’s ambition is to turn utility companies into project sites and end the procrastination and attitudes that have had a huge impact on the current situation.

The managing director of the electricity generation company (Egenco), William Liabunya, said that the Kapichira hydroelectric plant, which is the main cause of the current energy crisis, will be operational by December this year.

He said site rehabilitation work will begin on September 24, 2022.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has given President Lazarus Chakwera 30 days to resolve the outages.

HRDC, through its President Gift Trapence, has called on President Chakwera to take the lead in finding lasting solutions to the electricity problems.

The human rights group further calls for the government to return to parliament to revise the law which is expected to consolidate Escom, Egenco and Power Market Limited (PML) into one to cut costs and create a cohesive entity which should be managed under one roof.

“In simple terms, what unbundling means is that instead of paying a single CEO, managers, employees and related operating costs, the electricity consumer now has to pay for three entities of different operations.

“It wouldn’t be a problem for us if unbundling improved efficiency, reduced blackouts or lowered electricity prices. But he did none of that,” the HRDC statement read.

The group has since threatened to mobilize Malawians to stage nationwide protests on October 12, 2022 if the government does not meet the demands.

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