Home » General » Zanu-PF Purges Hit SADC Summit

THE recent purges of cabinet ministers hit a SADC energy summit underway at the Victoria Falls resort with delegates left kicking their heels as no minister turned up to open the event.

Zimbabwe now heads a number of regional initiatives after President Robert Mugabe took over as chairman of SADC in August.

The veteran leader this week fired seven ministers, one deputy as well as Joice Mujuru, who was his deputy, accusing the group of plotting to illegally remove him from power.

The drama in Harare took place as the Regional Energy Regulatory Authorities for Southern Africa (RERA) was meeting in Victoria Falls for a summit themed “Leveraging the SADC region’s energy potential through an integrated approach.”

RERA seeks to come up with strategies aimed at ensuring interconnectedness between member states to help relieve congestion and facilitate electricity trading, especially from countries with viable hydro projects.

And as energy minister, Dzikamai Mavhaire was scheduled to officially open the summit on Tuesday when it emerged he was among the cabinet lot booted out for allegedly conspiring to topple Mugabe.

The official opening was then delayed from Tuesday to Wednesday as news filtered through to delegates that Mavhaire had been fired.

The energy ministry’s permanent secretary, Partson Mbiriri, then travelled to the resort town to stand in for his sacked boss.

Addressing the delegates Mbiriri apologised for the ministerial no-show.

“We were expecting the official opening on Tuesday but it was deferred to (Thursday). Bear with me, the reason being we had our (Zanu PF party) congress last week and a number of changes were made,” he said.

“Some political changes occurred and, when I was coming here from the airport, I joked with the chairman of RERA that he went there expecting to welcome a principal only to find that it was just me.”

Meanwhile, Mbiriri told delegates that Zimbabwe, currently struggling with a huge power deficit, would be the chief supplier of electricity in the region by 2022.

The country currently generates about 1,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity against national demand of 2,000 MW, forcing power utility ZESA to ration supplies in a development that has aersely impacted the productive sectors of the economy.

But Mbiriri said government has embarked on several new projects which would add some 7,000 MW to the national grid by 2022.

“The country has embarked on a number of projects such as Batoka Project, Kariba South Hydro power extension, Hwange Power Station expansion,” he said.

“Several other independent power producers (several other projects have also been) licenced to generate power into the grid.

“These are likely to provide about 7,000 MW by 2022.”

Regionally, the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) says SADC has available capacity of 53,000 MW against average usage of 56,000 MW, meaning a deficit of 3,000 MW.

Mbiriri said SADC hopes to ease regional power shortages by 2016.

This would be done by adding some 11,600 MW in new generation capacity at an average of 1,160 MW per year.

Source : New Zimbabwe