Zimbabwe’s government on Tuesday announced a sudden end of blackouts that have crippled businesses and left millions of households without electricity for up to 19 hours a day.
The information ministry said a cabinet meeting had “noted with satisfaction” that the power utility “has announced the end to load shedding as a result of the interventions implemented” by the government.
The statement did not give details of the steps taken to end the load shedding.
The southern African country has for years been reeling under severe power shortages.
They worsened late last year when the main electricity supply, a hydro plant at the giant Kariba Dam in the north, suffered very low water levels caused by recurring droughts.
In March the power utility company said it had launched a new 300MW coal-fired unit with Chinese finance in a bid to ease repeated power outages.
But Zimbabweans greeted the news of the end of outages with scepticism, as some said they were sitting in the dark as the announcement was made.
One Zimbabwean @sammie541 tweeted “funny (be)cause we actually don’t have…(electricity) now”, adding her Harare neighbourhood had been without power since Monday.
Other Zimbabweans questioned on Twitter if the announcement was not strategically timed ahead of national elections due next month.
The country goes to the polls on August 23 to elect a president and legislature.
Eighty-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced strongman ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017 after a military-led coup, is seeking re-election.
But he faces a disaffected population that is battling hyperinflation, poverty and high unemployment.
Official figures placed inflation at 175.8% in June, up from 86.5% in May, but Johns Hopkins University professor of applied economics Steve Hanke believes real inflation in Zimbabwe is more than 1 000%.
Chinese-funded power plant expansion project in Zimbabwe set for commissioning
Chinese firm Sinohydro undertook the project, adding 600 MW to Hwange Thermal Power Station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant.
The project will be commissioned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday.
Zhemu said at a press conference that recent media reports predicting a return to prolonged power cuts after August were false, as Zimbabwe is now guaranteed adequate power supplies in the short-to-medium term.
He said Unit 7 is already feeding into the grid after the successful completion of tests in June and is now commercially available for operation. Unit 8 is also undergoing a similar test and is expected to be available commercially by August or September this year.
“So there is no way that we are going back to the past where we used to experience long hours of load shedding,” Zhemu added.
Five die in Binga traffic accident
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
A Stallion Cruise bus overturned in Binga on Sunday morning killing five passengers on board, police have revealed.
According to witnesses, the bus which was travelling to Bulawayo was reportedly speeding when the accident happened.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the bus overturned and landed on its roof in the Sikalenge area between Siabuwa and Binga centre.
“The ZRP confirms a fatal road traffic accident which occurred on 16/07/23 in the morning near Masumo Bridge, Samende area, Binga in which a Stallion Cruise bus travelling from Siabuwa to Binga overturned,” Nyathi said.
“The ZRP confirms that five people were killed whilst the number of injured is yet to be ascertained.”
The bus reportedly veered off the road at a sharp curve near the Masumu River bridge at around 7AM.
The accident comes barely a week after the same bus caught fire in Mutare on July 11 and all passengers escaped unharmed.
Prevail International Group of Companies develops Talk Chart
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
A local company, Prevail International Group of Companies has developed the first local communication and microfinance chat application called ‘Talk Chart’.
The application, which is downloadable onto Android and IPhones, allows people to connect seamlessly from anywhere and transact online.
It was developed a few months ago and has been introduced locally, as well as in the UK, Middle East, Philippines and UAE.
The developers who are in Victoria Falls to participate at the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon and introduce the application to the resort city, said they are excited by the overwhelming response the application has received.
Jonathan Muchengeti, Talk Chart chief executive officer said they want to take advantage of the international attendance at the marathon.
“Talk chart is a communication and microfinance application and is a one-stop-shop for business and individuals whereby you can transact and send money to your relatives.
“It’s different from other applications because you can transact with it. You can go into a shop and buy using Talk Chart. It is much better than other applications because it’s going to be faster, reliable and secure. So we are just here to interact with the people to show them that we are here for you,” he said.
Plans are underway to launch the application countrywide.
This is the first such application developed in Zimbabwe that provides home grown solutions to communication challenges as it will require less data compared to other applications such as WhatsApp.
Muchengeti said the company was motivated by the need to “have something of our own in Zimbabwe.”
“We have to make our culture proud and so we developed the application showing the world that we as Zimbabweans can do something better.
“Talk Chart is for everyone and we are here to activate it in Victoria Falls.” said Muchengeti.
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