Last week, Evelyn Mwapasa was replaced by Dr Alexon Chiwaya as the Chief Executive Officer for ESCOM after the country experienced its worst blackouts since Independence when Nyasaland became Malawi. The incessant power shortages and blackouts throughout the country have exerted massive pressure on Peter Mutharika’s government as the country heads in the 2019 General Election. Productivity in the country is low as factories grind to a halt and offices shut down due to lack of reliable electricity. The move to split the original ESCOM into two parts namely ESCOM and EGENCO does not seem to be giving the desired results.
Chiwaya heads into his new position armed with a heavy task to manage load shedding schedules as well as to look for solutions that will bring an end into the existing woes at the Energy company. Chiwaya, an engineer, already has a history with ESCOM having worked their for over two decades.
Mwapasa’s position came under intense scrutiny after a story broke out detailing how ESCOM had a whole year to procure standy by diesel powered generators that would ease the forecasted situation but failed to do so. The Office of the Director of Public Procurement proceeded to launch an investigation into the matter and discovered two key anomalies in the procurement process.
The electricity crisis prompted President Mutharika to storm ESCOM offices a few weeks ago in a surprise visit that may have ultimately cost Mwapasa her job. After the visit Mutharika assured the nation that the crisis would soon be resolved as ESCOM had taken the necessary steps to get backup power generators to ease the situation. Soon after, the nation fell into another 25 hour blackout causing the President much embarrassment and giving MCP’s Chakwera a few more weapons in his arsenal attacking the failure of the DPP led government (Even Prophet Bushiri got in on the act though his statements on the matter vary depending on your source).