By Leopold Munhende
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has told hard-pressed Zimbabweans to brace for more power cuts as the Kariba Hydro Power Station, where the country gets most of its electricity supplies, was producing only 90 megawatts (MW) per day.
Addressing residents while clearing garbage in the streets of Kuwadzana, an impoverished suburb in Harare, Mnangagwa said the Kariba power station had the capacity of producing 1 000MW per day, but was only managing to produce 90MW amid indications the situation would worsen due to poor rains.
“Look at the sun, there are no rains. As you can see, we are staring at poverty. We need electricity in our homes and industries,” he said.
“I am sure you have heard that Lake Kariba, which was giving us 1 000 MW before is now only managing between 100 and 90MW because of the extremely low water levels.”
The Kariba power plant is Zimbabwe’s main source of electricity, but poor rains over the past two farming seasons have significantly lowered the water levels at the dam that Zimbabwe shares with Zambia.
Currently, consumers are facing daily load-shedding of 18 hours, forcing companies to close businesses and retrench workers.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe, facing catastrophic hunger, was now importing maize from Ukraine, Mexico and South Africa to avert a food crisis and feed over eight million people in need of food aid.
“If rains fail us for the third season in a row, then we will definitely experience a serious drought.
“Money that was meant be used for development is now being used to import grain from Mexico, Ukraine and South Africa. With the difficulty of things now, the industry is looking at adding cooking oil, salt, bread and soap to the list of subsidised items for consumers,” said Mnangagwa.