sábado, 13 de janeiro de 2007

Mozambique: EDM Disconnects Entire Neighbourhood.

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
January 12, 2007Posted to the web January 12, 2007
Maputo
Mozambique's publicly-owned electricity company EDM has cut off all power to an entire neighbourhood in the northern city of Pemba, on the grounds that all the houses built there are illegal, reports the Beira daily paper "Diario de Mocambique".
Residents of the Chibuabuari neighbourhood then demonstrated in front of the Pemba EDM offices, demanding their immediate reconnection to the grid, but it seems unlikely that the City Council or EDM will reconsider the decision.
The Council says that Chibuabuari was built illegally, in an area that is at sea level and unfit for human habitation. For months the Council has been threatening to demolish all the houses built there, but the residents have refused to move.
The municipality has now changed tactics, and has asked EDM and the local water company not to provide services to the area.
EDM says that any connections in Chibuabuari are clandestine: a whole network had been set up to steal power from EDM through illegal connections, Yet some of the Chibuabuari demonstrators seemed to have contracts with EDM.
The EDM Pemba director, Josue Nunes, told the paper "There must have been connivance of some EDM workers who facilitated those connections".
"If we find people with legal contracts, we will have to reconnect them", he said. "But those connections will be on a temporary basis since the whole neighbourhood is illegal".
Tagir Assamo, spokesman for the City Council, said the idea is to discourage people from living in Chibuabuari. "This area is prone to disasters, and we've said so many times", he stressed.
EDM's attitude was to be praised, because if electricity was available, "that would promote the building of more houses there".
About 1,000 households live in Chibuabuari, and new houses continue to go up, despite the City Council's warnings. The residents say the Council allowed Chibuabuari to grow, and only now is it saying that the area is unfit for habitation.
Some accuse the mayor, Agostinho Ntauali, of lying because, during the 2003 local election campaign, when he was the candidate of the ruling Frelimo Party, he visited Chibuabuari to ask the residents to vote for him.
"So how can he now say he doesn't recognise this neighbourhood ? He's a swindler !", exclaimed one of those interviewed by "Diario de Mozambique".
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