As a Zimbabwean who is committed to finding solutions to challenges facing our great country, I spent a number of years researching Zimbabwe’s energy supply and policies as part of my postgraduate studies in International Energy Law and Policy at University of Dundee, here in Scotland.
When the opposition CCC led by Nelson Chamisa, launched its 2023 election manifesto titled ‘A Great Zimbabwe Blueprint,’ I conducted a thorough evaluation of its energy policy.
I identified several inherent flaws that are challenging to address all at once. My aim is to present my observations concisely.
The CCC’s energy policy is outlined on page 68 of their manifesto.
In the event of the CCC securing victory in this election, they propose the rehabilitation and modernisation of Hwange Units 1-6.
This notion appears ill-conceived. Rehabilitating Units 1-6 is likely to incur greater expenses than demolishing them and constructing entirely new, modern units equipped with carbon capture technologies.
When the CCC was launched in 2022, the people of Zimbabwe were assured that this party represented a “new baby” in the political arena. However, the reality is that the public was misled.
This party is not a newcomer but rather the same ailing MDC with a different branding.
The CCC’s 2023 election manifesto, or “Blueprint,” is a manifestation of plagiarism.
It is riddled with redundant statistics and antiquated ideas.
It has blatantly borrowed significant portions from the MDC Alliance’s 2018 election manifesto, and in some instances, even copied wording verbatim.
The 2018 MDC Alliance election manifesto, which itself relied on outdated sources like the AfDB 2011 reports, serves as the source of CCC’s dishonesty and incompetence.
Their desperation to transplant the MDC Alliance energy policy from the 2018 election manifesto underscores the depth of their deception.
The blueprint also replicates the estimated budget of US$4.33 billion for investing in power generation from the 2018 MDC Alliance election manifesto.
Another perplexing figure in the CCC manifesto is the US$300 million allocated for transmission infrastructure to modernise the grid. It is evident that this was not a thoroughly costed manifesto but rather a copy of the MDC’s 2018 election manifesto, word for word. Even if Zimbabweans were inclined to be understanding of CCC’s appropriation of the MDC Alliance manifesto, it is crucial to question the origin of these figures. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the global supply chain has undoubtedly altered these numbers since 2018. I fail to see how CCC can be entrusted with the economy when they appear to be deriving figures out of thin air.
Discrediting the economic damage inflicted on Zimbabwe by the economic sanctions over the past two decades is nonsensical.
The AfDB fully acknowledges that Zimbabwe stands as the only African country under economic sanctions from its creditors. Given the unusual circumstances in Zimbabwe, it is the expectation of Zimbabweans that all political parties should be armed with progressive policies capable of transforming the nation. Among these policies, the energy policy holds particular importance, as energy serves as the foundation of every economy worldwide.
The proposed Batoka Hydro Power Project stands as an ongoing transnational endeavour between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Bilateral discussions between the two countries were interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic; nevertheless, progress on the proposed project is underway.
The Government’s NDS1 recognises the pivotal role of a reliable electricity supply in facilitating sustained economic development. The recent commissioning of Hwange Thermal Power Station Units 7 & 8 exemplifies the advancement of the Vision 2030 agenda. Perhaps this is a contributing factor to the relative lack of concern among many regarding the absence of a ZANU PF 2023 election manifesto. In contrast, the CCC’s election blueprint proposes the construction of Units 7 & 8, which have already been built by the ruling party, with Unit 7 already connected to the grid and Unit 8 in its final testing stage before full grid connection. It is puzzling how they intend to build Units 7 & 8, which are already operational and connected to the grid!
The CCC’s Blueprint undeniably reflects incompetence. Rather than focusing on the development of progressive energy policies and other constructive initiatives, the CCC engages in baseless campaigns against the Government while claiming to be the best choice for economic governance.
It would be disheartening to have an opposition party lacking a coherent energy policy. I find myself questioning how a party can critique the government’s energy policy when it appears to lack a viable energy policy of its own.
In contrast to the CCC, the governing party’s energy policies have been carefully formulated and designed by experts. The Government has enhanced the investment environment by reforming legislation and regulations to support Public Private Partnerships, Joint Ventures, and Independent Power Producers.
I believe that if these policies are fully implemented, Zimbabwe is on a trajectory toward achieving energy security and fulfilling its goal of elevating the nation to an Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030.
Joseph Mandava is a researcher, legal scholar and energy expert based in Scotland. He holds an LLB (University of Stirling) and an LLM in International Energy Law and Policy (University of Dundee)