Government taken to task over blackouts


For a second day running, the government benches in parliament endured a tough time yesterday as opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) sought answers on what is being done to contain the now prolonged electricity blackouts affecting the entire country.

Minister of Energy Mining and Environment, Aggrey Massi, had a torrid day as he frantically tried to impress upon the MPs measures that government has put in place to deal with the power challenges.

This followed a statement he made in the House on the same.


Massi had claimed that the measures are working.

“A 6 Megawatt (MW) generator has arrived in Mzuzu, very soon it will be commissioned. In Lilongwe, we have two generators. One has a capacity of 6 MW while the other has a capacity of 6.4 MW. In Blantyre, we will also have diesel generators that will have a capacity of 20 MW,” Massi said.

Most MPs have been raising the issue in their contributions to a debate on the statement President Peter Mutharika made when opening the current session of parliament.


They were clearly not impressed with the statement the minister made, arguing government needs to be serious on the issue because many people are suffering.

“Hospitals are affected. Many people are suffering. Since people are using generators, prices of goods and services are going up,” Everson Makowa Mwale of Nkhotakota South East said.

But Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi stood on point of order, saying there is no evidence of deaths related to the blackouts. He also indicated that some health facilities are using solar power.

However, Mwale said things are not as good as the Muluzi was painting, adding the problem needs immediate solutions.

Noise briefly engulfed the House, as the MPs tried to win First deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje’s attention for a chance to contribute on the issue.

“The issue under discussion is very important. May I ask you to sober up? Can we please cool down? Don’t raise emotions,” Chilenje said.

Blantyre City Central MP, Themba Mkandawire said he expected things to improve, with the measures government outlined.

However, Karonga Central MP, Frank Mwenefumbo said government should explore more ways of dealing with the problem.

“Government need to explore all avenues. On generators, fuel is not dependable. However I can accept generators for the time being. But we need to find other ways like the use of solar energy. I appeal to government to take off all taxes on solar equipment,” he said.

He also urged the government to consider constructing mini hydro electric power stations on rivers such as Ruo, Rukuru and Bua so that more power is generated.

But Massi insisted that the strategies government has put in place, are short, medium and long term.

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