Friday, July 22, 2011

Towards a Permanent Solution to Power Cuts

Everyone agrees Africa needs to move forward. The power blues being experienced in Tanzania, the pangs of hunger in Kenya, Somalia and Sudan.... the unimaginable pain of women and children still being raped in DRC.... our cups of problems are more than enough.

We can blame the current and past leadership forever. Yet this may not change anything. If your mother and father did not care for you when you were very young, under 15, they are to blame. But after you are 18 or twenty, they are no longer to blame for your fate, even if they never fed you or took you to school. You can rise up, and even become a professor. And if you chose to live a miserable live, they are no longer to blame, but you. That is what I believe.

Just the way we expect too much from our parents, it is the same way we expect too much from our leaders. We have been conditioned to look at the government as almost equal to the power of providence. For every problem, we want the government to solve it. I am not saying that we should not hold our governments to account, we should, but also actively seek solutions.

For example, the power crisis in Tanzania, all of Wanazuoni members, who are mostly Tanzanians, it should be a wonderful chance to make a difference. Take aside all anger ( I know it is not easy) and see what should be done. Each one can think of a solution beyond TANESCO and the government. After all how many Tanzanians have access to power? Less than ten per cent (I stand to be corrected). So lack of power is affecting a significant portion of the populace, involved in production in one way or the other but the minority.

What needs to be done is to share ideas as much as possible on how to solve this problem, with or without direct involvement of the government..... and something will come out of it.

Here are my humble suggestions:

1) ------Lobby for the government to remove taxes on solar materials. I think it would be possible to produce or bring in solar roofing materials at very minimal cost – Tsh 10-20 000 per sheet. If the civil society and all people of goodwill can join hands, and bring in a million solar sheets...... for such a cost every Mwanazuoni could buy for the folks back home a set to power their way to better life......

2) -------- Start smallholder local people owned “smart power generating plants”- as many as possible. There are many villages with excellent sites for power generation. I know of Mbaga Village in Southern Pare, some missionaries wanted to put up such a plant, TANESCO said no. By then it was a monopoly. Now it is not.

3) ---------The new plants should make use different sources for power generation – solar, biogas, wind, geothermal, gas, etc...

4) -------- Wanazuoni (and others) who are in Tanzania should join hands to identify business opportunities for putting up small power plants, and wanazuoni abroad will join hands in looking for finance. I am sure development partners will be happy to assist.


Anonymous July 22, 2011 at 2:52 PM  

Good advice. But this model needs strong commitment and willingness to take pain. Case of lobbying to strip off some taxes is not a short term.

Also,out of our agony, few thugs in the energy industry becomes billionaires. How many Jairo's are still there? Will they be willing to compromise their interests? An example from Pare above serves as good reference.

Enjoy the darkness!

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