By Yankuba Jallow & Nelson Manneh
Gambians are lamenting the erratic power supply which has gripped the nation during the past days after the Government imposed curfew across the country as part of efforts to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), the national electricity provider has never succeeded in the drive to provide continuous supply of electricity to the people of the country. Of recent, Gambia’s townships have been faced with incessant power shortage which is making their stay at home awful.
The Gambia Government on Wednesday, 6th July 2020 declared a State of Emergency as a result of the surge in the number of coronavirus in the country. In addition to the declaration of the State of Emergency, the Government made a curfew order requiring people to be indoors from 10 pm to 5 am for twenty one days.
Between 10 pm and 5 am every day, everyone is expected to be at home and thus, they all need power to do their things while at home.
NAWEC PRO, Pierre Sylva was contacted by Foroyaa to have their reaction and he booked an appointment with the paper, but when the reporter visited his office , he was told the PRO was out. He was called by the reporter, but he did not receive the call.
Lamin Jallow, a resident of Serrekunda said NAWEC should be providing people with stable electricity supply especially during this curfew period when everyone is expected to be at home.
“My stay at home is very difficult. The nights are always long for me because of the unstable electricity supply under this hot weather,” Jallow said.
Fatou Jaiteh, a 39-year-old mother described the power supplied by NAWEC during this period as horrible, adding the national provider should provide people uninterrupted electricity supply during this period, particularly the townships.
“I can’t sleep without using a fan. The weather condition is very hot. Whenever there is no power I stay awake until there is electricity, then I go to bed,” she said.
Isatou Ceesay, a market vendor living in Sukuta said power supply in The Gambia has never been enough. The mother of three said since the introduction of the curfew order by the Government the power supplied by NAWEC has now become a nightmare.
“We spend most of the time at home in the dark. We need electricity at night. My daughter is 8 months old and she always cries at night because of the hot weather condition. When she cries, I take her outside so that she gets fresh air,” she said.
Lamin Beyai, a resident of London Corner said NAWEC does not measure up to expectations wherever they are needed by their clients and customers
“I think they are ineffective because they are not facing competition. They are the sole providers of electricity in the country. If there was competition, I think they would have improved on their services,” Beyai said.
Foroyaa interviewed many people who all called on NAWEC to at least provide them with stable power supply during the period of curfew.