Photo credit: Mwebantu.com
By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
When Zambians living in the southwestern town of Livingstone had their electricity supply cut on Sunday morning, little did they know that it was caused by a baboon.
The country’s power producer, ZESCO, confirmed to local media that the baboon had accidentally tampered with high voltage machines. The resulting blackout he said affected about 50,000 customers living in Livingstone and the Western province.
The animal according to ZESCO spokesperson, Henry Kapata, has since been handed over to the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and is currently in Intensive Care Unit.
The lines the baboon was tampering with are extremely high voltage. You can see that it was electrocuted in so many ways but it has survived. It is an animal, we cannot prosecute it otherwise if it was a human we would have taken it to court.
“The baboon tampered with the A station and the B3 and B5 machines in our power station cutting electricity to Western Province and of course Livingstone town so we have about 28,000 customers in Livingstone and 22,000 customers in Western Province. So the baboon cut our power station around 06:50 hours,” Kapata told Byta FM.
“The lines the baboon was tampering with are extremely high voltage. You can see that it was electrocuted in so many ways but it has survived. It is an animal, we cannot prosecute it otherwise if it was a human we would have taken it to court.”
Zambia, a major copper producer has been in a politically tensed state following disputed elections held in August last year. The President declared a state of emergency recently after a market fire believed to have been cause by acts of sabotage.
It’s main opposition chief is in jail pending a treason trial for blocking the presidential motorcade months back. The main opposition bloc in parliament has also been suspended for disobeying the president. Civil society groups in the country have voiced concerns over the ‘charged’ political atmosphere.