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Tanzania’s electricity utility Tanesco distances itself from callous ‘press statement’ scolding its customers

IN SHORT: The Tanzania Electricity Supply Company has not issued a public statement chastising Tanzanians for complaining about a 10-hour power cut. The statement circulating on social media is fake.

An image posted on X (formerly Twitter) appears to be a press release from the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco).

Tanesco is wholly owned by the government and is the country's main electricity supplier.

The document, which is dated 5 February 2024, scathingly rebukes Tanzanians for complaining about a 10-hour power cut.

It reads, in Kiswahili: “Shirika la umeme Tanzania (TANESCO) linapenda kukemea vikali tabia ya wananchi kulalamikia shirika kwa tatizo la kukatika kwa umeme. Umekaa giza miezi tisa tumboni kwa Mamako … halafu sisi tukikata umeme masaa kumi tu! Unaleta mdomo Pumbavu!”

This translates to: “The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) would like to strongly criticise the behaviour of citizens in complaining to the company about the problem of power cuts. You spent nine months in darkness in your mother's womb ... and you cannot bear a power cut for only ten hours! Stupid!”

One instance of the post has been viewed more than 180,000 times and has generated hundreds of reactions – likes, comments and shares.

On 21 December 2023, Tanzania's president Samia Suluhu dissolved the board of Tanesco amid growing discontent over frequent power rationing. There has been a drop in power generation due to insufficient water levels in dams and repairs to electricity infrastructure.

But did Tanesco really publish this statement? We checked.


Ignore fake press release

Tanesco publishes press releases on its official website and its official X and Facebook accounts. We were unable to find the press release in question on its website or any of these accounts.

At the time of publication, the last press release on Tanesco’s website was issued on 23 January 2024. This also appears on the utility company's X account and was about damage to infrastructure caused by heavy rain.

Tanesco labelled the press statement circulating on social media “FAKE NEWS”.

“Shirika la Umeme Tanzania (Tanesco) linawapa tahadhari wale wote Wanaoitumia mitandao ya kijamii vibaya kwa kuchafua shirika kwa Habari za uongo na zakupotosha. Shirika halitasita kuwachukulia hatua kwa yeyote anayehusika kwa mujibu wa sheria za kimtandao,” the company wrote.

This translates to: “The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) warns all those who misuse social media by spreading false and misleading information about the organisation. The organisation will not hesitate to take action against anyone involved in accordance with cyber laws."

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