The Zimbabwean Perspective

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Editorial Energy Lifestyle

City of Darkness

ZESA can’t be dropping the ball like this during a lockdown…

The past 3 weeks of January have marked an intense time in power cuts around the country, especially in the Harare as neighborhoods have spent days and even weeks with no electrical power. Now power shortages and load shedding are not new for our country, after all we’ve dealt with them for at least ten years now. But in a time where the country is in a pandemic, people are working and learning from home and the need for electricity becomes paramount, spending days without it turns these cities in darkness into places of despair for many a Zimbabwean.
Now again, chances are no one reading this article is a stranger to load shedding in Zimbabwe. At this point, it’s a staple of life in our country, arguably more so in major cities, but if January of this year has been any indication, things might not be getting better anytime soon. Just last week a large array of suburbs in Harare, both high and low where hit by power cuts, some which were allegedly faults but others whose details were more…murky to say the least. Areas like Kuwadzana 1-7, Kuwadzana Extension, Dziwarasekwa and surrounding areas were cut off for a whole week, while areas like Kambuzuma had been cut off for almost 2 weeks by the time their issues were resolved. Lower density areas like Malborough and Westgate were affected for days on end as well, and as we start this week, reports of other Harare areas being knocked offline have started, along with areas in Mutare and Bulawayo. It’s a seemingly random and intense game of who gets cut off next, and what’s worse is the confusing reports about exactly why the intense power cuts are occurring. Zesa has stated everything from faults to maintenance to issues in Hwange to only barely mentioning load shedding. That along with similar events happening last month around this exact same time makes us wonder if these faults or accidents simply are exactly that. We wouldn’t really know, and we won’t start any conspiracies here about whether or not there’s enough electricity in Zimbabwe (there isn’t, let’s not bother). But whatever the issue is, it needs to get fixed and stat. Everyone knows how crazy the world is right now, and being in the middle of a pandemic is no easy feat for anyone, especially those who need to work from home, but in a country where literally the internet itself is a luxury, we can’t make things worse and have people disconnected, disoriented and disabled by being completely shut off to what is a basic human right at this point.
We’ve already mentioned those who are working from home but we also forgot those who have full businesses in rural areas as well. Small supermarkets and more importantly, butcheries are reeling from a week where they had to make emergency arrangements to move very perishable products across town during a lockdown, or worse off try to share off stock in a hurry. Add in numerous entrepreneurs and more unique businesses that rely on electricity and in a country where our government constantly highlights entrepreneurs and small businesses as a key part of our future, cutting of a key or even the only require utility for their day to day operations. Simply put, with ZESA’s recent moves , even companies are affected in ways that range from inconvenient to completely debilitating, and it has to end soon.
We’ve already put up articles about saving power, and of course anyone who’s fortunate enough to invest in alternate energy sources such as solar panels probably already made a note to do so, but this isn’t the kind of state we can live in. I’m not one to push people to make complaints, but ZESA and the government do need to be accountable here, and we all need to express that they should. Will that change things overnight? Probably not, but expressing that we deserve better might be the first step towards getting it.

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