Johannes Nyamayedenga, Public Relations and Marketing Executive for the Agency, revealed that his organisation had successfully installed electricity at schools, business centres, chiefs’ homesteads, government extension offices and villagers’ homesteads countrywide.
“We embraced new technologies after realising that we might not meet our target to finish electrifying all the rural areas by 2040,” he said. The new technologies are the Single Wire Earth Return, solar and bio gas means of electrification.
Aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of resources in the electrification of rural areas, a fund was established in 2002. It was hoped that through electrification, development could be accelerated through irrigation and various other initiatives, such as home industries, which require the use of electricity.
Nyamayedenga said although the organisation had made great strides in executing their mandate, it experienced financial constraints like any other agency in Zimbabwe.
“Embracing new technologies such as solar was a strategy that we adopted because it is cheap, fast to install and it covers bigger areas compared to the grid type of electricity installation,” he explained.
So far 3, 891 out of 5,780 primary schools have been electrified and work is in progress at 27 other schools.
“We are working on eight secondary schools while 1, 267 have already been electrified. A total of 897 rural health centres have also been electrified under this programme. 320 government extension offices, which include residences of extension workers countrywide, have also benefitted,” said Nyamayedenga.
266 chiefs’ homesteads have been electrified, 897 business centres, 674 small scale farms, 1,043 villages and 664 others, which include churches and recreational centres.
REA is financed by public funds. There are reports that the organisation is embroiled in a $4 million scandal where it is alleged that the management extended loans to themselves and other politically connected individuals. It is alleged that REA managers and other staff used the loans to build houses.
Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire early this month dissolved eight energy sector boards under his ministry, including REA, which was chaired by John Mberi, on the basis that they had underperformed for the past five years.
Nyamayedenga told The Zimbabwean that although the ailing parastatal was going through financial challenges, his organisation would continue working towards its goal of universal access to modern energy services by 2040.
“In all the areas that we have installed electricity, we note that communities, especially pregnant women, are now receiving quality health care at their local centres. We have provided solar powered fridges at health centres such as Davata in Chiredzi and Zinatha in Gutu after we installed the 12 mini grid solar powered stations. The community now has access to medicines that need to be kept under certain temperatures and pregnant mothers no longer bring candles when they are delivering their babies,” he said.
Schools that received computers under President Robert Mugabe’s donations are now using them. “This is why we targeted schools because we are aware that those computers were lying idle and they needed to benefit rural students,” said Nyamayedenga.
Over the years Mugabe has donated thousands of computers to rural schools to promote E- learning, despite the majority of the schools having no electricity.
3,891 primary schools
1,267 secondary schools
897 rural health centres
266 chiefs’ homesteads
897 business centres
674 small scale farms
664 churches and
recreational centresPost published in: News