By Peter Kanjere, PRO
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) recently held a consultative meeting with traditional leaders and public officers on the 400 kV Mozambique-Malawi (MOMA) Interconnection Project.
The meeting took place in Blantyre on February 22 2023 to appraise the government officers and the traditional leaders on the progress of the preparatory phase of the MOMA Project.
In his opening remarks, ESCOM Wayleave Coordinator, Precious Mpekasambo, said ESCOM called for the meeting to update the chiefs and public officers on the progress made on compensations and resettlement for the Project Affected Persons (PAP)’s.
“The aim of the consultative meeting is to ensure that all of us are on the same page in as far as the progress of this project is concerned. We called you because while we talk to the nation about the project, it is you who communicates with the communities at the local level on the progress of the project,” Mpekasambo said.
The meeting attracted public officers and traditional leaders from Project Affected Persons (PAP) districts of Mwanza, Neno and Balaka, where the 400kV high voltage transmission line from Matambo in Mozambique will pass through to Phombeya Substation in Balaka.
Asian Consulting Engineers Manager, Karthikeyan, whose organization is implementing the project’s Resettlement Action Plan, said they had made progress on the payment of the compensations among PAPs communities of Mwanza, Neno and Balaka. Karthikeyan said there were a few areas where some members of the communities have outstanding issues such as claiming ownership of the same piece of land
Speaking on behalf of the traditional leaders, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kanduku said chiefs fully support the project, as it is in line with the government’s agenda of increasing access to electricity in the country.Kanduku said it was important for the project implementors to engage the traditional leaders whenever grievances arise regarding relocation of PAPs to ensure progress
The gathering ended with a meeting, led behind camera, involving the Ministry of Local Government’s Director of Chiefs Charles Makanga, Presidential Delivery Unit’s Chief Delivery Officer, Naomi Manjolo, Chief Energy Officer Thokozani Malunga and chiefs.The meeting also attracted ESCOM Social and Gender Inclusion Manager, Elube Chienda, ESCOM Senior Transmission Engineer, Leonard Machonjo, ESCOM Senior Environmental Officer, Getrude Malulu, ESCOM Social Safeguard Officer, Brian Kunkwenzu, Mwanza District Commissioner (DC) Dr Martha Sineta, Mwanza District Director of Administration Victoria Wane, Neno DC Hudson Kuphanga, T/A Nthache (Mwanza) and a representative of T/A Symon from Neno.
ESCOM has, as part of the project, undertaken asset verification exercises, updated PAP database, set up grievances redress committees, empowered PAPs by providing them with financial literacy training, distributed PAP IDs and PAP assets inventory sheets, computed detailed compensation for each PAP RAP schedule.
The government of Malawi is sponsoring the project through ESCOM alongside the European Union, the World Bank and KFW to meet increasing electricity demand in Malawi by tapping power from the Southern African Power Pool member countries.
The project involves construction of 218 km of transmission interconnector—76km in Malawi and 142km in Mozambique— and extension of Phombeya Substation by the end of the year 2023 to add an initial 50 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.
It is anticipated that the country’s peak electricity demand will be 1,860MW by the year 2030. Currently, Malawi’s installed electricity generation capacity hovers around 500MW.
Participants pose for a group photo