Bulawayo station deal frustrates Botswana


NAIROBI — Botswana has expressed frustration at delays in implementing a deal it signed with the Zimbabwe government to resuscitate the Bulawayo Power Station.

Gaborone had hoped part of the credit line to Zimbabwe would go towards the rehabilitation of the Bulawayo Power Station, with 50% output being supplied to Botswana.

The estimated $63 million upgrade would have seen the station, operating below capacity-generating about 60 megawatts.

Botswana’s Energy and Water Resources minister Kitso Mokaila last week told Parliament that the project in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, did not materialise.

Mokaila made the remarks amid Botswana’s worst electricity crisis in recent years.

Botswana’s situation is worsened by the main supplier, South Africa’s rising woes, which could force them to cancel deals with neighbours to sustain the domestic demands.

“We cannot impose our will on a sovereign State. Despite our proposal that part of the credit line that was put in place at the time was to be made available, the project was unable to get off the ground,” said Mokaila.

The credit package was to help Zimbabwe’s economic recovery.

Seventy per cent of the package was to be used to revive the manufacturing sector while the remainder was earmarked for other sectors.

Botswana extended the help in response to a call by the Southern African Development Community for regional countries to support Zimbabwe’s economic recovery after President Robert Mugabe formed a power-sharing agreement with his rivals in 2009.

Meanwhile, Mokaila said Botswana was reviewing various options to avert the power crisis.

— Africa Review