President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s biographer, Eddie Cross, says he warned him about a power crisis.
Cross claims that in January this year, he told Mnangagwa in a private meeting if the power generation crisis was not addressed, Zimbabwe’s economic prospects would diminish.
Cross, a former member of the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said later, the same day, Mnangagwa invited him back to his office.
He said this time, in the president’s office, were four ministers from energy, commerce, agriculture, and finance.
They were joined by the chairman of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), the head of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) boss, according to Cross.
Mnangagwa told them what had been said by Cross and asked what was being done to deal with the power crisis. Said Cross at a business seminar in Harare on Thursday:
There was no plan. The president turned to Dr [Sidney] Gata [the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority boss] and asked him, ‘Sidney, what are you going to do about it’?
He added Gata told the president ZESA had no money to fix this problem.
Cross said the current power crisis affecting the SADC region was caused by poor planning by post-colonial governments. He said:
The electrical power crisis that has enveloped southern Africa has its roots in our post-liberation history. Before that, the utilities created by the states of southern Africa exhibited considerable foresight and planning.
This was led by the power utility of South Africa which had visionary leadership at the time and like China in the past 50 years, turned their huge coal reserves into a cheap source of electrical energy.
They installed enough power generation capacity to feed their own markets and to supply the deficit in their neighbours,
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a power crisis, with the country generating 500MW against a peak demand of 2 300MW per day.
As a result, Zimbabweans are getting an average of five hours a day of electricity, in most cases late at night or early in the morning.