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Suspend all ‘romantic’ programmes, resolve electricity crisis, Nevers tells govt

MMD president Nevers Mumba has urged the PF-led government to suspend all “romantic” programmes and focus on resolving the crippling and chaotic energy crisis in the country.

Zambia is undergoing an economic debilitating energy crisis blamed on drastically reduced water levels in the Kariba Dam that has affected electricity generation.

Zesco initially started with a 4-hour load management which it doubled to 8 hours and even more.

The government is considering importing electricity from South Africa to cushion the deficit, which has taken a toll on micro, small-scale businesses for citizens.

Commenting on the energy crisis, Mumba said the country could not afford another week of “these eight-hour load-shedding experiments”.

He said the projection of the crisis threatens everything that makes a nation to survive.

He said leadership was the ability to anticipate disasters and to mitigate such disasters well before they happen.

“America is anticipating Hurricane Dorian in Florida. President Trump has cancelled his trip to Poland so that he can concentrate on mitigating the impact of the threatening hurricane. This is how you govern and this is why people vote for leadership, to avert national catastrophes,” he said.

“Zambia is facing the biggest energy crisis since independence. The projection of this crisis threatens everything that makes a nation to survive. PF government’s justification of our current crisis includes reasonable causes like low water levels at Kariba Dam and global climate change. Unfortunately, none of these will shield the government from an imminent revolt by citizens if a solution is not found soon. The greatest fear is that we are still months away from the next rainy season. This means that load-shedding could extend from eight hours to twelve hours per day. The economic implication of such a development are too ghastly to contemplate.”

Mumba said productivity in all sectors shall be curtailed and the end result was a stagnant economy which has the potential to bring about political instability.

He said it was for that reason that MMD was calling upon the PF-led government to suspend all “romantic” programmes and focus on resolving the energy crisis.

Mumba said all efforts of the government must be targeted at solving the energy problem, not in months but in days.

He said during the president Levy Mwanawasa days, Zambia was faced with a huge debt crisis which had immobilised growth in the social sector.

Mumba, one of Republican vice-presidents at the time, said Mwanawasa decided to focus his attention on resolving that threatening situation.

He said Mwanawasa cancelled most of his international trips, restricted the travel of ministers and permanent secretaries and allowed ambassadors and high commissioners to handle all international engagements.

“He further negotiated with the Public Service Unions to freeze salaries for civil servants. He also cut fuel and telephone benefits from senior government officials, including ministers. This was in addition to several other cutbacks made. The end result was that Zambia attained a debt free status since independence. President Mwanawasa applied political will to achieve this great milestone on behalf of the Zambian people. Alongside these austerity measures, president Mwanawasa publicly and viciously tried to fight the scourge of corruption,” said Mumba. “Zambia cannot afford another week of these eight-hour load-shedding experiments. It is unsustainable. Government must act now.”

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