July 27, 2017

Solar energy comes to the rescue of jazz musician

Filed under: Arts,Feature,Renewable Energy — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:58 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi

Twenty-two year  old Moses Munatsa is an upcoming jazz musician based in Caledonia Phase 10 about 20 kilometres east of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

“It used to be a challenge as I had to travel into town or visit relatives in Mabvuku where there is electricity to do my recordings over the phone. To date, I have done over 50 songs (that are) yet to be recorded officially.  I normally use my smartphone for that and the battery does not last long,” he says.

As is the case with  several youths and women resettled in Ward 25 Caledonia in Harare East, Munatsa faced challenges in accessing better facilities including electricity.

However, he now smiles in the comfort of their three-roomed house where he is recording his songs with ease and without thinking of transport fares into the city centre or visiting relatives to access electricity.

Caledonia currently faces an identity crisis with Harare East Member of Parliament Terrence Mukupe claiming it is within his jurisdiction while the local councillor Dereck Malifundi, reports to Goromonzi Rural District Council within Goromonzi South Constituency represented by Member of Parliament Petronella Kagonye.

“We currently do not have electricity here but we are using small solar powered panels to access radio (signals) as well as charging our phones. With that, I am recording my music on my phone regularly without any challenges,” he says.

Those resettled in Caledonia since 2000, have not benefited from the electrification programme.

‘We have seen the poles and wires that were installed but nothing has been done to bring power into our homes. We are getting  … alternative (energy) through small solar panels that we use as clean energy for lights, radio and charging our phones,” said a local teacher.

Thirty-three year old Gladys Banda of Phase 3, admits that lack of electricity has been a challenge for many people here.

“The majority of us had no homes of our own in the city centre. We needed a roof over our heads and we hoped that electricity would soon be connected in our area,” says Banda, a mother of three.

Councilor Malifundi agrees the ward is still developing and faces many challenges in the form of roads, clinics and schools, among others.

‘We hope things will move according to our plans. We are aware of the electricity challenges, but better days are coming,” he said without shedding much light on future plans.

Meanwhile, Kagonye admits the ward faces numerous challenges since it emerged as an unplanned settlement. The ward started off with nearly 5,000 stands in 2000. The figure has since risen to 54,000 stands and an estimated population of 100 000.

‘There has never been infrastructure provision including that of water and electricity. We have a high concentration of people … including a co-operative of the physically challenged with more than 250 members.

“As a result, women suffer more as fuel wood is no longer readily accessible. Generally, use of solar powered small panels has been the solution in most homes for lighting and charging mobile phones,” she said.

Kagonye said the community should embrace renewable energy alternatives such as solar and biogas.  This would be a better solution than having to wait to be connected to the national grid which is already struggling to service connected areas.

Munyaradzi Kaundikiza, an environmentalist, said energy is the key input in the socio-economic growth of communities and the nation at large. He said there is a close link between availability of energy and the growth of a nation.


May 28, 2012

Democracy at long last for us

The thematic committee on peace and security held public meetings in Mashonaland West and Central provinces last week to gather people’s views on impact of Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, Zesa, load-shedding and billing on wheat farmers.

Those who attended these meetings had the opportunity to understand how parliament works even in small towns like Karoi and Mvurwi. Of late every public contribution has been turned political but at least parliament public hearings must be seen cultivating confidence in us regardless of our political persuasions.

The public hearing came at the right time as plans can be made to rectify the challenges faced for future plans. This year like the past decade in terms of planning where inputs were released late in farming season is another chapter of failure in wheat production.

Although Agriculture minister Joseph Made can blame his counterparts, his lack of planning is well documented when he was appointed minister. Public officials must be accountable to the public.

Of late Finance Minister Tendai Biti has received backlashes from members of the public for his ‘’stingy attitude on releasing funds’’ for certain projects but few asked why diamonds remittance is overseen by mines minister Obert Mpofu not treasury? Such anomalies erode public confidence of our Government and must be acted upon as policy issue.

Once a while, public hearings will dispel misconceptions about how some ministries are operating and the public has the right to know.

Zesa, like Zinwa, TelOne, NetOne must come out clean on what rate did they use to carry forward arrears during worth less Zimbabwe dollar era when Reserve bank Governor Gideon Gono is still yet o give banks the monies locked in the banks.

All people are asking for is, can the proceeds from diamonds sales clear all the debts on our behalf as it is of national interest so that we start afresh? People are not asking for more, Cde Mpofu.

We hope that this part of democracy is slowly working for us even it means that one day another committee will be in Gandavaroyi, Matoronjera, Filabusi, Chalala or Chendambuya.

During elections, politicians travel far and wide campaigning to be voted into offices but they must stand for us in parliament and our voices can only be heard during such public debates. It is good move for us and we hope resources permitting it will be continuous.

At long last we can say it is democracy in our midst-working for the people, by the people and we will shoulder the achievements and shortcomings together.
Public hearing will give us an insight of parliament works and this all we call democracy for the people, by the people. At long last it is in our midst and we all cherish it

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