Zanzibar — ZANZIBAR has moved closer to ending electricity blues, following the arrival of a new marine cable to replace the current dilapidated 45 megawatts wire connecting the islands to the national grid from Dar es Salaam.
President Ali Mohamed Shein led Stone Town residents on Friday to 'receive' the cable at Malindi Port. Thanks to the United States through its Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for financing the multimillion dollar project which was earlier scheduled for 2013.
According to the Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO) official, Mr Ahmed Rashid, the laying of the 100 megawatts cable between Zanzibar (Fumba area) to Dar es Salaam starts next Monday and if all goes well, the project will end by December, this year.
Zanzibar relies heavily on Tanzania mainland grid for electricity."This is a big push to our development, we should all celebrate," said President Shein as he thanked the manufacturers of the heavy duty cable and the USA for supporting the project intended to end electricity problems in Unguja Island.
Dr Shein informed the gathering at Malindi that the new cable also contains fiber optic which will help improve communication through internet and the e-government project. More celebrations have been planned for Monday when the laying of the cable starts.
Mr Rashid said that the laying of the 37 kilometre cable is expected to take 12 days, anticipating the project to end in November, this year. The wire weighs 2,000 tonnes and will be laid in the sea by ESB International from Ireland.
The ZECO general manager, Mr Hassan Ali Mbarouk, said the new cable made by VISCAS of Japan has a life span of about 30 years and that Zanzibar has been facing frequent electricity fluctuations and cuts due to the ruined old cable.