Vice President Inonge Wina described last week’s power outage that lasted for 128 hours in five provinces as “one of Zambia’s most disastrous natural calamities”. This came amidst a growing chorus of calls for the axing of executives at the power utility company ZESCO.
Speaking during the 30-minute vice president’s question time in parliament on Friday afternoon, Mrs Wina also apologised to the affected communities for the inconvenience and losses suffered during one of the longest power blackouts that affected Muchinga, Luapula, Central, Northen and Eastern provinces.
“We thank God that power has been restored. And I wish on behalf of the Government to apologise to the affected communities for the inconvenience and disruption caused to their businesses and household goods,” she said.
The power outage was ‘n result of a lightning hit on a 330 kilovolt line at Pensulo, Serenje, about 68 kilometres north of the capital Lusaka. It left many poultry and dairy farmers and agriculture processing operations, abattoirs, retailers and individual households with losses.
Lewis Nasilele, a Lusaka farmer, called for an assessment of the loss to the economy and asked that the executives at ZESCO be held accountable.
“The social and economic loss is huge, not only to the people in the affected areas but nationwide,” he said.
Farmers on social media went further, calling for compensation for losses suffered.
“As it is, we are faced with huge losses that will make it impossible to recover in the short time and make contributions to the education of our children come January 2017,” said Humphrey Milanzi of a farmer of Mpika on twitter.