Controversial businessman, Wicknell Chivayo has splurged around US $5 million on vehicles (basing on his social media posts) for himself and others from January 2023 up-to-date inspite of failing to make meaningful ground work at the infamous Gwanda Solar Project.

INTRATEK Zimbabwe, a company owned by Chivayo is still to commence the implementation of the 100 megawatts Gwanda Solar Project after the Supreme Court late last year dismissed an appeal by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) against a High Court decision which had found that the contract for the development of the project was still valid.

The case which has been dragging before the courts until the Supreme Court judges found that the contract for the development of the Solar Project was still valid.

ZPC entered into a contract with Intratek Zimbabwe and technical partner, Chint Electric Company on 23 October 2015, for the project whose cost was estimated at US $173 million (ZPC 304/2015).

The power company paid US$5 million for pre-commencement works to Intratek.

Since then, the matter spilled into court with ZPC arguing that no work had been done and the contract was no longer valid.

The way Chivhayo has been throwing vehicles on individuals and doing nothing for many who are wallowing in energy poverty is a fairy tale of ‘rubbing salt to injury’.

What is Energy Poverty?

In 2010, World Economic Forum defined energy poverty as the lack of access to sustainable modern energy services and products.

It is not only a matter of sustainability but energy poverty can be found in all conditions where there is a lack of adequate, affordable, reliable, quality, safe and environmentally sound energy services to support development.

Poor countries are usually equipped with the worst energy services, which contribute to malnourishment, unhealthy living conditions and limited access to education and employment.

According to the 2022 Population and Housing Census, Zimbabwe’s electricity access rate stood at 62 percent of the population.

The report stated that 91,1 percent of households that did not have electricity were in Rural Areas as compared to 9,9 percent in urban areas.

Despite the fact energy is the engine of civilisation, nowadays access to adequate and affordable sources is not equally distributed.

Energy presence is strongly and constantly intertwined with economic and social development.

More than 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s population is estimated to be relying on solid biomass fuel for thermal needs and has no access to clean energy sources while about 20 percent of urban households use wood as the main cooking fuel because of the unreliability of electricity supply and financial constraints.

Zimbabwe’s energy needs are much greater than the installed capacity 1 700 MW can cover.

The usage of wood fuel and other solid biomass fuel is reported to be a factor which has contributed to climatic change, which again affects the poor people the most.

There is need for solar power to boost energy in the country.

Solarisations eradicates digital and energy poverty.

The solarisation of rural schools makes education more flexible.

It also gives students access to the Learning Passport and other e-learning platforms.

Energy poverty reduces education quality, stifling access to teaching and learning materials.

Availability of energy has been cited as the major factor for retention of teachers in rural and remote schools.

Whereas, Chivhayo is busy splurging ‘toys for men’, rural children’s dreams in Gwanda remains an utopian task.

Chivayo has hinted on donating vehicles to Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) who he says being on his case was base on jealous rather than merit.

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