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Tanzania plunged into darkness after nationwide blackout

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A technical fault at Tanzania’s national electricity supply company plunged the East African nation into total darkness.

Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), the supply company said on Thursday that it was working to normalize the situation which left households and businesses without power.

TANESCO confirming the incident on Thursday said in a Swahili tweet that: “there has been an error on the national grid and thus caused blackout to all the regions that were connected to its power supply. Efforts continue to re-establish the electricity (supply).”

Tanzania’s power generation mix blends hydro, natural gas and heavy fuel oil to generate electricity. Like in most African nations, there are incidents of partial blackouts which occur due to minor faults.

President John Pombe Magufuli in January 2017 fired head of Tanesco after the outfit hiked tariffs by 8.53%. The president said the hikes would stunt his plans to industrialize the east African country. He went ahead to order a reversal of the move.

The power firm had initially sought an 18.19 percent tariff increase to arrest a loss-making trend and clear debts to independent power producers and fuel suppliers. The energy regulator however approved 8.53 percent which was less than half of what the utility said it needed to stem losses.

About 40 percent of Tanzania’s population of around 50 million has access to electricity and the government is aiming to push that rate up to 75 percent by 2025.

Since coming into office in 2015, Magufuli – referred to as the bulldozer – has sacked dozens of public officials as part of an anti-corruption campaign and a new drive to root out government inefficiency.

TANESCO has been unsuccessfully seeking loans from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and commercial lenders to turn the company round.

Despite reserves of over 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, Tanzania has been facing chronic power shortages over the past decade due its reliance on drought-prone hydro-power dams.

Motherland News

Families Identify Church Collapse Victims in Anguish

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Tears and anguish characterized the atmosphere as the grieving families of 13 worshipers killed in a church collapse arrived at the Richards Bay mortuary to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

The worshipers died when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday night.

The KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department co-ordinated with various departments including health, home affairs and the police, to assist in speeding up the body identification process.

Six worshippers were from Ulundi, four from eSikhawini and three from Maqwakazi in uMlalazi.

Describing the collapse, Phumelele Simelane from eSikhawini said worshippers had just had their evening meal and were preparing to sleep when the wall caved in.

Simelane was with her 6-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital. She said she came to the mortuary to support congregants whose relatives died.

The Mthembu family, who lost grandmother Thembi Mthabela, 54, and Andiswa Mthembu, 10, in the tragedy were overcome with grief.

“Thembi loved going to church and she always took Andiswa with her. Andiswa was doing Grade 3 at Nyathini Primary School. As a family, we are very traumatised and it is hard for us,” said a relative, who did not wanted to be named.

Buhle Mzila, whose sister Samke, 33, died, said the family had lost a breadwinner.

Samke, who worked at the Ulundi Municipality, was with her 9-year-old daughter during the incident.

Buhle said her niece, who was in hospital, was in a state of shock about her mother’s death.

“Samke loved the church, she always made sure she attended every service. She played a big role in terms of assisting the family. We are still going to feel her absence,” said Buhle.

A sobbing Mbongeni Langa said his mother had died in a “place she loved”.

The memorial service will be held tomorrow

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Motherland News

CAF Sidelines Nigerian Centre Referees for 2019 AFCON

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Out of the Twenty-seven centre referees penciled down for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, countries like Burundi, Mali, Zambia and Sudan are represented on the list, but no Nigerian referee was selected for the big occasions.

However, only one assistant referee from Nigeria named Baba Adel was listed among the twenty-nine assistant referees selected by the African Football Governing Body.

The competition will be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017.

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