Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Excited by the promise of power for Bulawayo

Excited by the promise of power for Bulawayo


Bulawayo cooling towers

Bulawayo cooling towers

Finally there is some good news in the power supply drama that engulfs the lives of each and every Zimbabwean.  Congratulations go to the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association for spearheading demonstrations over Zesa’s extortionate rates and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for their successful application to reduce tariffs.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply authority has been in disarray for close to a decade and the supply of energy a massive deterrent to investors and an almost insurmountable challenge to local industry, commerce and mining in particular.  Private consumers are overwhelmed with bills that range from $2000 a month to $5000. 

Someone I know rents a one room cottage in a garden, his landlord was bowled over when he received the bill for the cottage, which has its own meter. $1700 for a month.  He approached his tenant to find out if he is running a nuclear reactor in the back garden! Most people pay a nominal $100 a month just to prevent Zesa cutting them off.

But Bulawayo residents are excited to see their power station slowly kicking back into action, with the iconic landmark of the cooling towers set to once again belch smoke into the atmosphere. The environmental activist in me winces, but the live-in-the-dark, candle-buying side of me rejoices.

This power station has lain dormant for almost two decades, but with recent investment from Botswana it has been refurbished.  The national railways and truckers have been delivering coal from Hwange and according to eye witnesses the storage area is steadily filling.  The people of Botswana will be the major beneficiaries as they paid for the project, but the residents of Bulawayo are also hopefully set to see an easing of daily load shedding.

The City of Kings is already aware of the activity at the power station as they have been running tests there, and when they “blow off steam” to check the plant the noise can be heard for many miles around.  One woman living close by in a flat in town was sent into a panic attack when the testing took place in the middle of the night.  She cannot remember the noise from the past as she was just a young girl when the station was decommissioned.  She and her children were woken in the middle of the night, terrified at the unidentifiable noise and hid under their beds till morning!

Well we all here need to thank Elton Mangoma, who against all odds is fighting the scourge of power shortages.  I hear that licenses have been issued for three new power stations, Kariba is being refurbished and a solar plant is going up near to Gwanda.  Small steps in progress.


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