Zimbabwe: Power outages rile Harare residents

Mugabe19 August 2013, Harare – Residents of Zimbabwe capital, Harare, are up in arms against the national power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Authority, Zesa, following increased load-shedding, which has seen many going for hours without electricity.

The power utility has in the past two weeks intensified power cuts in most suburbs of Harare, triggering an uproar among residents who have since turned to paraffin and firewood for lighting and cooking.

Areas including Mabelreign, Dzivaresekwa, Budiriro, Eastlea, Parktown, Belvedere and Glen Norah A and B have been going without power from 5am to around 9pm.

Harare’s Central Business Centre, CBD, has also not been spared, with some leading supermarkets complaining about prolonged power cuts that have seriously affected their business operations.

Last Thursday, a supermarket at Joina City in Harare was confronted by angry customers who failed to get their lunch due to the power cuts.

A senior employee at the supermarket said power had been switched off on Wednesday night and continued into Thursday.

Alternative power from a generator was erratic, as it kept on switching off, plunging the whole supermarket into darkness.

“This is poor business conduct. This shop gets a lot of money, but they are failing to have a sound back-up power facility. What kind of a service is this?” a disgruntled customer said.

Some residents said they were surprised that the power cuts came soon after elections when there are talks that some politicians wanted Zesa to scrap all debts dating back to February 2009, when the country started using multiple currencies.

Speculation is now rife that the load-shedding could be an act of resistance on Zesa’s part to the slashing off of bills, as directed by some senior government officials.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru has vigorously campaigned for the scrapping of the bills, as has been done with council water bills.

“It is too much of a coincidence that soon after the announcement by some government officials that Zesa should also follow suit and write off bills, there is sudden load-shedding all over,” said a pensioner from Milton Park.

– The Standard

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