Minister describes vandalism of ESCOM assets as economic sabotage

Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola has described vandalism of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited assets as economic sabotage, saying the vice was undermining the government’s efforts to restore Malawi to its past glory when it had a thriving manufacturing industry.

Matola said this when he graced an anti-vandalism march around Mangochi Town then an awareness meeting which ESCOM hosted at Mangochi Stadium on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

He cited vandalism of copper wires, conductors, stay wires, transformers and its oil as being retrogressive, saying such misconduct thwarts efforts to ensure that manufacturing companies in sectors such as mining have access to enough electricity to aid production.

Matola then said he hopes a bill which Parliament passed last week to push for stiffer punishment for those convicted of vandalism of such assets would go a long way in fighting the vice.

“We have a bill which is awaiting the President to ascent it. I hope that the President will ascent it,” he said.

“We cannot go on like this. We need stiffer punishment for the vandals. Imagine how lives of patients are compromised when there is no electricity and how people suffer when maize mills are down due to a power supply outage. Women spend hours on end travelling long distances looking for alternative maize mills, and this in a way fuels domestic violence.”

The Minister further said ESCOM had lined up projects such as Malawi Electricity Access Project (MEAP) to fast-track electricity connections and increase access to electricity in the country.

“All these efforts are meant to ensure that more people have electricity access. On another note, I know that ESCOM employees face challenges when dealing with customers at times even being insulted but I urge you to bear with them and have empathy because people can at times become frustrated when they are unable to get the much-needed service,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Mangochi ESCOM District Engineer, Martin Mbwandira, called for more collaboration with members of the community, traditional leaders, and law enforcers to deal with cases of vandalism, which he noted were on the increase in the lakeshore district.

Mbwandira, who represented ESCOM Chief Executive Officer Mr. Kamkwamba Kumwenda, cited Kuchipalamawamba, Chilipa, and Makanjira as some of the areas hit the hardest by cases of vandalism of ESCOM assets such as conductors and transformers in Mangochi.

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