Only God knows why the board for Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom), and Escom executive staff are still at the leadership helm of this fallen parastatal.
I have consciously invoked God because it is beyond human understanding that the board and the entire Escom management to still cling to managing a parastatal they have effectively failed to do so.
Or, it is beyond parameters of human comprehension for President Peter Mutharika to still maintain a board and an executive that, even a two-year-old, can attest to their proven failure.
Let us face it, fellow Malawians: Escom has proved it is a failure. Of course, its failure, somehow, could be traced to policies developed long time ago.
Come on, how do we explain that, after 52 years of independence, we can only produce 351 megawatts when all our neighbours have gone beyond a thousand?
I am saying how, as a nation, we can explain that, after 52 years of independence, we can only reach 10 percent of the 16 million Malawians with electricity?
I accept that Escom’s failure to produce more megawatts and reach to more than 10 percent of the country’s population is a failure that cannot, directly, be blamed on executive director John Kandulu and board chairperson Richard Makonde team. It is beyond them.
But when Escom, today, fails even to effectively supply electricity to the handful 10 percent of the 16 million Malawians, I shudder to think of leadership. Akutaniko ngati zosatira za ntchito za manja awo sizikuwoneka?
You see, we employ people and spoil them with fat salaries and benefits to ensure that public companies are effective and living to the expectations of the public.
When Escom says it motto is Towards Power All Day, we employed Escom’s management team—and added a board to them for strategic decisions—to ensure that they provide leadership that should lead us to the realisation of that goal.
Let us face it: for the past, perhaps, 10 years I have been around, Escom is not even close to where we want it to be.
In fact, they are not just far from realising their motto; they are just in the dark, groping, wandering like Alice in the Wonderland.
Just look around.
Escom, in a typical fashion of failed leadership, has been good at blaming their failure on everything—human and, even, inhumane things. They have blamed it on droughts, on floods, on monkeys—just on everything. .
I am keen believer in humans as creative beings, specially created to make sense of their environment and manipulate it to their sustainable advantage. Simply put: God, or wherever we came from, created us different from other animals. He gave us power to seek solutions to our problem so that we adapt to the changing environment.
It is in that spirit that is why we Malawians, through our elected President, appointed Kandulu and his team to manage Escom, on our behalf, so that it produces energy for us to adapt and survive. But if all Escom doing is to relentlessly ask for obscene tariff hikes from Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) and after that announce more blackouts, you know that we have wrong people in the leadership.
I do agree that electricity generation is expensive. I also agree that Escom, to operate effectively, needs consumers to support it fairly by paying reasonable money to it.
But here is the point: Why should I, and fellow consumers, be purged with relentless tariff hikes that only help executive management and the board, after getting fat allowances and benefits, to generate and announce more blackouts? Why should Malawians continue to pay more for a service they are not getting steadily?
Without a word minced, leadership at Escom, from the board to the executive, has proved it has failed. If what Escom leadership is doing is not is not failure, then what is failure?
I am sure, despite the contextual challenges Escom is facing, the current team of leadership has failed the simplest job of providing electricity to the handful 10 percent. I do not see any justification of their continued stay at Escom. There is honour in leaving when everybody knows you have failed. n