Writing was on the wall for Tanesco’s ousted managing director

Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) mnaging director Maharage Chande adresses a working session involving the Treasury registrar, the firm's management in Dar es Salaam on July 27, 2023. PHOTO | SUNDAY GEORGE

What you need to know:

  • Mr Gissima Nyamo-Hanga, the former director general of the Rural Energy Agency (REA), has been appointed as Maharage Chande’s successor, signalling a new hope for Tanesco

Dar es Salaam. The removal of Maharage Chande as the managing director of the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (Tanesco) has sent shockwaves through the country, with analysts suggesting that the writing was on the wall for his departure.

The reason, they told The Citizen yesterday, was precipitated by the fact that the electricity sub-sector faces mounting pressure to meet the country’s power demands amidst persistent rationing.

The appointment of Major General Paul Simuli as the new chairperson of the Tanesco board of directors also reflects a growing concern over the country’s ongoing electricity crisis, according to experts.

It also comes hot on the heels of the transfer of January Makamba from the Energy Ministry to the Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation docket, leaving many wondering about the reasons behind the change.

A country blessed with abundant sources of energy should not find itself in the grip of a chronic electricity shortage, according to energy expert Dr Thomas Mfugale.

Dr Mfugale is left baffled by the repeated power woes, as other countries without these resources manage to provide stable electricity to their citizens.

“If there isn’t significant improvement in the energy sector’s performance, the issues we currently witness will persist. It would have been impractical for Mr Chande to remain in office while the public grapples with frequent load shedding,” he said.

Dr Mfugale’s sentiments echo the frustration felt by many Tanzanians who have endured years of unreliable power supply.

A resident of Tabata-Dar es Salaam, Mr Jonathan Masawe, 57, noted; “In reality, it’s hard to comprehend how anyone could remain in office while the situation continues to deteriorate. We need individuals who can devise more effective solutions, especially in light of the looming threats of climate change on our water sources.”

The president’s commitment to addressing this issue is evident in her new appointments.

Former Minister for Minerals, Dr Doto Biteko, was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and given the additional responsibility of leading the Ministry of Energy.

His task is definitely to spearhead efforts to alleviate the country’s electricity crisis, which is hampering economic progress and disrupting the daily lives of citizens.

In his first meeting with Tanesco employees, Dr Biteko left no room for doubt, demanding a collective effort to ensure reliable and stable power for all Tanzanians.

“It is time for every Tanesco employee in his or her department to bring the desired output, not words. We must deal with issues, not personalities. What Tanzanians want is electricity,” he declared explicitly.

The removal of Mr Chande from Tanesco, despite his background in the private sector and previous experience as the managing director of MultiChoice Africa, raised questions about the utility company’s performance under his leadership.

Mr Gissima Nyamo-Hanga, the former director general of the Rural Energy Agency (REA), has been appointed as Chande’s successor, signalling a new hope for Tanesco.

However, an academician, Dr Donald Olomi, emphasised that Tanesco required long-term leadership to understand and effectively address its issues.

He believes that frequent leadership transfers won’t solve the problems. Instead, he suggests that leaders should stay, learn from mistakes, and build on them for improved performance.

Dr Biteko, in a speech at the Tanzania Energy Congress forum in Dar es Salaam earlier this week, stressed the electricity shortage issue.

“We’ve recognized that the current power supply doesn’t align with Tanzania’s high economic growth rates. It’s imperative to develop alternative sources of electricity to ensure a dependable and consistent energy supply for our economic activities,” he explained.

The Deputy Prime Minister reassured Tanzanians that the completion of the Mwalimu Nyerere hydropower plant project would provide a long-term solution to the electricity challenge, but in the meantime, the focus must be on meeting the immediate needs of the people.

Dr Mfugale stressed the importance of harnessing all available resources to bring electricity to every corner of the nation.

“Let’s cut to the chase and make the decision to utilise all the resources bestowed upon us by God to provide electricity to the people of Tanzania,” he urged.

“Now the spotlight is on the new management of Tanesco. They need to rise to the occasion and ensure that the nation’s power needs are met without further delay,” he added.

A political expert, Dr Paul Luisulie, said the root causes of the problems should be identified.