Increased electricity load shedding throughout the country soon after the announcement of the July 31 harmonised elections has left Zimbabweans with many unanswered questions. The electricity supply company, Zesa, has since offered a reason for the massive load shedding, blaming technical challenges. It downplayed the link between the power situation and the elections, but Zimbabweans are not convinced that it is mere coincidence.
Zesa's explanation was that it lost four units at Hwange Thermal Power Station in the past two weeks, reducing power output from 700MW to 200MW.
The power situation, Zesa spokesman Mr Fullard Gwasira said, was also being worsened by the depressed imports due to maintenance at Hydro Cahora Bassa where the power utility gets some of the supplementary electricity.
But in the court of public opinion, there was a hidden political hand behind the massive power cuts, moreso in view of a possibility of a Government directive to local authorities to write off debts accumulated since 2009. Vice President Joice Mujuru recently announced that Zesa must have debts for its clients cancelled.
Since dollarisation in 2009, consumers have complained about the huge power bills which they feel do not correspondent with the actual power consumed.
While the Zesa explanation might sound plausible, it might be difficult for Zimbabweans to accept it considering the timing of the massive load shedding.
Many Zimbabweans are not convinced that the load shedding has nothing to do with politics and Zanu-PF's trouncing of the MDC-T in the July 31 elections.
They find it really difficult to take Zesa's technical explanations, especially after the load shedding drastically increased on the day results of the elections were announced.
We doubt that the power utility has fitted into the MDC-T strategy of sabotaging Zanu-PF's win by dampening the celebratory mood.
We want to believe that the power utility has not squarely fitted into the machinations of the enemies of the State who have been doing anything in the book to ensure that the country remains under the burden of economic stagnation.
We believe Zesa is a good corporate citizen which has a bigger role to play in the economic development of this country.
One of Zanu-PF's main priorities as espoused in the ruling party's manifesto is to revive the economy which has been shattered by the illegal sanctions imposed by the West.
Many industries have closed, especially in cities like Bulawayo, citing the difficult operating environment as the sanctions took their toll.
Hope that these industries will be revived under Zanu-PF is aided by the fact that the party has always been at the forefront of efforts to ensure the factories re-open, but was being frustrated by the MDC-T which controlled the finance portfolio in the inclusive Government.
But all these hopes and efforts will continue to be frustrated if there is inadequate electricity to power the industries.
With an outgoing minister drawn from the MDC-T, Mr Elton Mangoma, heading the Energy and Power Development Ministry, consumers would understandably be quick to link the load shedding to political sabotage.
We experienced similar suspicious power cuts that affected the printing of ballots for special voting last month.
This calls for vigilance on the part of Zanu-PF to ensure that its efforts are not discredited by individuals and companies which choose to align with the opposition parties' agenda.
It is time Zesa put its house in order and work closely with the ruling party to ensure that economic recovery is realised for the benefit of everyone.
On its part, Zesa must play ball. It needs to up its game when it comes to informing the public on the power situation in the country. We are living in an era where information, including rumours, travels fast and companies need not create a breeding ground for malicious rumours.