Up to 17 hours of load shedding is too much to bear.
Lives and businesses are being lost. We know long power cuts can be difficult, and it’s common for questions to be asked about when this will end. But no one knows when this will end or reduce drastically. Even the President doesn’t know.
If there are no proper answers people have the right to protest.
We have people who are reliant on electricity for medical reasons, can they get any extra help?
On Monday women and children in Chilenje in Lusaka protested the long hours of ongoing load-shedding.
The impact of this is felt mostly by the poor and small businesses that cannot afford generators and fuel costs.
Many small and medium-sized enterprises operating saloons, barbershops, butcheries, welders in the compounds are the most affected by the power outages.
On Friday Edgar Lungu said the government was working to end the load-shedding but was not sure when that would happen.
Asked why some areas in Zambia were experiencing more than 15 hours of load management, Edgar said: “I don’t know.”
On Monday, Ng’ombe residents marched to the Zesco offices in the area to complain about the long hours of load-shedding.
It’s no longer just an inconvenience, lives and livelihoods are being threatened, ruined.
But this load-shedding is not being evenly or fairly shared. The areas where the well-to-do live or operate their businesses are not generally hit by 17 hours load shedding.
A lot of people are angry and determined to make themselves heard. Our people’s frustrations are increasing everyday and it is the duty of those in leadership to do something to reduce the anxiety, frustrations, pain. But it is clear those in leadership are clueless and they do not seem keen to import electricity to power our businesses and homes.
These protests are likely to increase if this load-shedding is not managed well.
But psychology reveals to us that there is actually more than just anger and a sense of group feeling that compels some of us to get out on the streets and protest — and that there are many contextual factors that influence how people feel about protests, and even how likely those protests are to succeed.
Protests have been part of the fabric of human civilisations — whether imperial or democratic, fascist or run by monarchs — for an incredibly long time. We have records of a labour strike in ancient Egypt in the 12th century BC under the pharaoh Rameses III, nearly 4,000 years ago; it was a sit-down protest among scribes who worked on the pharaonic tombs, because nobody had given them rations for nearly three weeks. We can’t speculate on the psychology of people who died thousands of years ago, of course, but you can definitely feel sympathetic to their grievances; and since then, everyone from Rome’s aristocratic women to Gandhi has attempted to change the world through mass protest. It’s a common human impulse — there’s more to it than just coming up with some snappy chants.