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Economic Darkness Befalls Snr Chief Dambe Area

ESCOM removed the transformer after it developed a fault ESCOM removed the transformer after it developed a fault - pic by Councilor Bwanali

Communities around Chilimbondo and Chimbalanga villages in the area of Senior Chief Dambe in Neno district have faulted the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi for failing to replace a faulty transformer the power supplying body removed one and a half years ago.

Speaking to Zodiak Online on Wednesday, Neno District Council chairperson Councilor Montfort Bwanali and his Area Development Committee chairperson Ishmael Lafayelo say the development has affected their economic lives and compromised security.

Councilor Bwanali who is also Councilor for Chilimbondo ward, says ESCOM unmounted the transformer after it developed a fault during the last World Cup games but up to now it has not replaced it.

"I have been following up with them but no convincing answer and now we have nowhere to go. We even asked our Member of Parliamentary to intervene but we have seen no result. The power only lasted for five months here," said Bwanali.

He added that due to this, many people in his area who opened small businesses like barbershops have now closed and are back to poverty as they are failing to do any business.

He said this is negatively affecting the lives of his people, to which ADC chairperson Ishmael Lafayelo concurred by saying that even cold chain shops have closed as their products went bad and have lost money in the process.

"We don't keep anything in our fridges now and we have lost a lot of money which we could have used to buy fertilizer, sending our kids to school. Even security has collapsed as thieves are no longer afraid of the lights, our goats are being stolen," he said.

Councilor Bwanali added that some essential services like teaching and health have also been affected since officers are refusing to relocate to the area due to lack of electricity.

He said that " These people are well educated and are coming from towns that have electricity, so we understand them but we need Escom to do us a favour and not backslide us into the dark days".

Then the two have asked the power supply body to swiftly come to their rescue, arguing the development is counter productive especially in empowering the rural masses with economic developments.

But in response, ESCOM public relations manager Kitty Chingota has told us that the Transformer developed a fault and they took it to their workshop to have it repaired.

"However, it was later established that the Transformer has outlived its life span and cannot be repaired. In view of this we have to get a new Transformer to power Senior Chief Dambe area," she said.

She also disclosed that "At the moment, we do not have Transformers in stock".

The senior PR manager added that to address issues of shortage of the machines, they have initiated procurement of the transformers but delivery has delayed due to some challenges both on the part of buyer and supplier.

"We have positive expectations of having them soon because some suppliers have started delivering the transformers but in portions," she added.

As a promise to the people, which is yet to be fulfilled, she said that "we will keep looking for any available transformer that can be used to supply the area and will not rest until power is restored in the area".

Meanwhile, ESCOM has reiterated that it was their responsibility to ensure reliable and quality power supply in the country and committed to ensuring that the public has power all the time.

It says that it believes that electricity is the backbone of the country’s economic development.

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