"Zimbabwe Government Is Lying" - Namibia

Nampower, the Namibia Power Utility Company one of whose stations is shown in the photo above says media reports that Zimbabwe Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri had stopped power exports are a pack of lies and that Nambia is still getting its power from Zimbabwe as normal, even as Zimbabwe itself reels under a severe shortage of power and puts its businesses and citizens through punishing schedules of power cuts and load-shedding

Harare, Zimbabwe, 18 January 2010

Zimbabwe's closest ally in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has accused the Zimbabwe government of lying that they had stopped power exports to Namibia in a statement that says Nampower is aware of the "alleged  Directive from the Zimbabwean Energy Minister to ZESA."

There was an outcry when it emerged that Zimbabwe's power company, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) was importing and then re-exporting power supplies to Namibia in order to fulfill a contractual obligation to its Namibian counterpart, NamPower.

The re-export was made necessary because NamPower helped Zimbabwe to refurbish Hwange Power Station. In return, Zimbabwe, which has no money to pay its debt to Nampower, would supply Namibia with power from the refurbished Hwange Power Station.

But Hwange had broken down and was not producing power at maximum capacity. ZESA then started importing power from neighbouring countries and re-exporting it to Namibia while putting Zimbabweans through massive power cuts and "load-shedding".

It was Elias Mudzuri, the MDC-T Minister of Energy in Zimbabwe's Frankenstein's Monster Government who then announced to the world that he had "ordered" ZESA" to stop these exports.

But in a Statement yesterday, the Namibian Power Company said they are still getting their power from ZESA and everything was well:

"NamPower and Zesa have for a long time maintained good trading relations and NamPower is proud to state that, in the past couple of years, under the existing bilateral agreement between the two utilities, Zesa has been willing to assist NamPower when required," Nampower's statement said.

They added that it was "Nampower has not received any official communication from ZESA confirming the media reports and it is business as usual between Nampower and ZESA."

It is perhaps over-excitement at being a Minister that Mudzuri now "shoots from the hip", making announcements that are impractical and can not be executed.

Stopping power exports during the five-year period agreed to between ZESA and Nampower would have meant that Zimbabwe further erodes any credit rating it might have with regional partners and supporters.

It is something you never do in any agreement if you want to remain credit worthy, which is why some of us were skeptical that anything could have come of the order from Mudzuri who, as I have said before, is a person I personally consider the most capable and professional MDC minister in this government. Even the way he went about trying to revive Harare when he was Mayor so rattled Mugabe that the ZANU PF leader pushed for Mudzuri to be fired by Local Government Minister and Mugabe homeboy Ignatious Chombo.

That he should go the route he has now taken is certainly a surprise. My disappointment with him started when the new government was formed and Mudzuri immediately adopted ZANU PF policies of ordering ZESA to charge certain prices without regard for the needs of the power company or the cost of generating and importing power.

The charges ordered by Mudzuri were sub-economic, first of all. And then he also issued an order asking ZESA not to cut off people who did not pay their bills. So you immediately had even well-heeled Borrowdale types deciding not to pay ZESA its dues simply because they knew they could get away with it.

This further put strain on ZESA and it is no wonder that the utility company is failing to really refurbish its power plants and end load-shedding once and for all.

I suppose we should not expect any sort of explanation from the Zimbabwe government on this. The MDC has now learnt the ZANU PF way of treating the electorate with disdain and arrogance. No excuses, no apologies and no explanations. That is how ZANU PF operates and now the Ministries under the MDC-T have cottoned on to that as well.

I just found it very amusing that an ally of Zimbabwe would be publicly contradicting the Zimbabwe government on this.

Both the MDC and ZANU PF are so used to simply making an announcement of an "intention" and letting people believe that this is as good as actually DOING it. Hence, MDC supporters started celebrating the appointment of ambassadors (announced by Tsvangirai as being posted in August last year) before it happened. They celebrated when Tsvangirai said Mugabe had agreed to appoint MDC-T Provincial Governors and shouted at those of us who pointed out that Mugabe had not confirmed this and that this meant it would not happen.

It is, I suppose, easier to believe lies and give oneself false hope than it is to face the reality that Mugabe is a habitual liar in politics and that Tsvangirai appears to find it easier to accept the lies as truth than to face the truth.

Only in Zimbabwe.



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