Government should institute investigations into Zesco and Indeni Oil Refinery’s challenges to rule out the possibility of some elements trying to sabotage the economy of this country even if experts are trying hard to convince Zambians that the problems at the two utility companies are natural.
Workers at Indeni have cried foul because they believe that a deliberate effort is being made to sabotage energy production by the importation of feedstock that is not only unsuitable but also so highly corrosive as to endanger the life of the plant.
This can only be done by people with a negative interest to serve.
It cannot be a coincidence that while Zesco is battling with load shedding, Indeni Petroleum Refinery too, should be shut down because of the importation of contaminated crude oil which has damaged some machinery at the plant.
It must be understood that Zesco is a major player in the economy of Zambia and the mainstay has been hydro generation with elements of diesel and discarded thermal power generation.
Hydro-power has been the major source of electricity driving domestic as well as industrial equipment in the manufacturing sector.
Unlike many other parts of the continent where “generator” power is reigning supreme such as Nigeria and nearby Tanzania, Zambians have become accustomed to the steady supply of hydro electricity from Kariba.
This means that, little effort has been employed to change energy sources. It will therefore be very difficult for the country to make a sudden shift to other sources of energy without experiencing a negative impact on the economy.
As industries begin to adjust to the new reality of reduced power supply, efforts are being made to shift energy sources. Meanwhile there are reports of low productivity in all sectors, including the mines, because of load shedding.
The effects of this load shedding will undoubtedly have a cascading and long term effect on the economy resulting in reduced GDP with all the attendant consequences.
The situation is made worse when Indeni is brought into the picture.
Indeni is not only strategic for petroleum for use by transport sector and some factories but also other energy products such as gas. This means that even if Zambians shifted to equipment which can be powered by gas, the undertaking can be an expensive venture when Indeni remains shut and cannot produce gas.
Therefore, the closure of Indeni because of some officials who decided to import wrong crude oil cannot be equated to patriotism.
It is obvious that there could be some elements who are taking advantage of natural challenges being experienced in the energy sector to benefit from the resultant chaos.
This is the reason why we are urging Government to conduct a thorough and extensive inquiry into the oil and electricity systems because things seem to be amiss and aimed at undermining the Government.
This is a possibility because going by some public pronouncement by some people, their predictions seem so precise about the challenges in the energy sector .
It appears there is an invisible hand controlling certain institutions such as Zesco and Indeni to achieve a particular purpose.
It is time for Government to act.