Party accuses Energy Minister, Kapala, of incompetence, urges him to resign from office


The Energy Minister, Peter Kapala, has been challenged to reverse the recently approved electricity hikes and resign for alleged incompetence since government claims not being consulted over the development.

This challenge was made by the United Liberal Party president, Sakwiba Sikota.

Last month, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) approved ZESCO’S request to increase electricity tariffs by 10 percent effective May 1, 2024.

This development led to the sending of the ERB Director General, Yohane Mukabe, on forced leave as the board passed a vote of no confidence on its chairman, Mr Reynolds Bowa, over the same issue.

Reacting to this news, Sikota in a statement issued on Sunday wondered how government could make that claim when both the ERB and ZESCO boards regularly reported to Kapala.

Sikota regretted that the Energy Minister was refusing to take responsibility for decisions made by two boards that he appointed.

Read more: Govt ‘fights’ ERB over electricity tariff hike, Capital market closes quarter at K102.67 billion; see our top 10 stories of the week

“Mr Kapala appointed both the ZESCO and ERB boards. Both these boards regularly report to him. If they have not reported to him since April last year (2023), he should tell us why this is so. If indeed they have kept him in the dark since last year, why is he not dissolving the ERB and ZESCO boards?

“Mr Kapala is in a Catch 22 situation. If he did not see the Friday 21st April, 2023 ERB statement then he is incompetent and not up to his job. It means he cannot be given the responsibility of overseeing our energy sector. He took his eye off the ball,” Sikota said.

He had since challenged Kapala to reverse the new electricity tariff if indeed government was not consulted by the ERB.

“Why does the minister not reverse the hikes? Rather than saying the UPND did not know about the increase and just leave things as they are, the UPND should reverse the increase.

“The truth of the matter is that these increases are part of the conditions pushed onto us to get the debt restructuring,” Sikota claimed.

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