President Emmerson Mnangagwa was left with egg on his face after an abrupt power outage interrupted his speech during the ground-breaking ceremony of the Cyber City in Mt Hampden on Wednesday.
Mnangagwa, who was in the company of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and billionaire investor Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, chairman of Mulk International, had to wait for three minutes as officials made frantic efforts to restore power.
Sensing the humiliation, a group aligned to the President calling itself MenBelievED broke into song to save the situation.
Mnangagwa could not hide his disappointment with the power utility Zesa Holdings for the power outage in the presence of visitors.
“This is very humiliating. The guys at Zesa do not know the time to do their power cuts. They cannot have their load shedding when we
have guests like this,” he said.
The majority of Zimbabweans experience incessant power cuts on a daily basis.
Wheat farmers are also currently complaining that the power cuts are seriously affecting farm operations at a time when thecountry is aiming for a bumper winter wheat harvest.
On Tuesday, Energy and Power Development minister Zhemu Soda warned that the country might endure rolling power cuts beyond August due to depressed generation capacity.
Power utility Zesa last week issued a notice warning of prolonged power outages.
But Soda said government was making frantic efforts to ease the power cuts through imports and rehabilitation of the Hwange Thermal Power Station.
Zimbabwe requires 2 000 megawatts (MW) of electricity monthly to meet power demand.
Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa currently sells 50MW of power to Zimbabwe, while South Africa also supplies it with 400MW of power, still inadequate to close the supply gap.
The Kariba Dam, which has provided the country with the bulk of hydro power, has over the past few years experienced falling water levels, subsequently causing a drop in supply of electricity.
Hwange, which has also over the years contributed to the power requirements, is currently struggling due to obsolete equipment.