ESCOM inculcating culture of ownership on staff members by rewarding innovative service delivery

* The awards were initiated to inspire the staff members to take an extra mile in their service delivery

* They are reaping fruits as the employees are emulating each other in a spirit of hard work towards ESCOM’s new motto of ‘A New Customer Experience’

By Duncan Mlanjira

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited has this year rewarded four of its employees for their dedication and innovative service delivery — which has been described as embracing the culture of ownership at the public company.


At the presentation of the awards at ESCOM’s Mpemba Training Centre in Blantyre, Chief Executive Officer, Kamkwamba Kumwenda said the awards — that were initiated to inspire the staff members to take an extra mile in their service delivery — are reaping fruits as the employees are emulating each other in a spirit of hard work towards ESCOM’s new motto of ‘A New Customer Experience’.

The awards were rolled out last year in Mangochi and this year’s winners are Gift Mlenga (linesperson, Mulanje); Edgar Sangwani Nyirenda; (call centre agent, Blantyre); George Mtali Phiri (meter artisan, Blantyre) and Makuleya Botha (driver, Blantyre).                        

Mlenga, who joined ESCOM in December 2012, saved a transformer from vandals in Mulanje on September 19, 2022 for the community of Lobeni Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chikumbu.

The citation says after learning that it was only Lobeni Village which was in blackout as the rest of the areas had power supply, Mlenga braved the darkness and walked to the nearby transformer to check its safety.

True to his instinct, Mlenga found vandals almost through with dismantling the transformer and armed with his personal gun, he chased the vandals, shot one of them in the leg while the rest fled using a car that was parked by the roadside.


Sangwani Nyirenda, who joined the power utility service provider in 2016 averted a potential fire accident within the precincts of ESCOM’s office located off Independence Drive in Blantyre at 19:00hrs on February 1, 2024 by grabbing a fire extinguisher and doused fire that had engulfed a stationery car.

The citation says any further delays could have seen the fire spreading to the other many parked vehicles and even the many offices in the compound.

“His prompt reaction saved lives and property — perhaps what was impressive was that he applied the skill he had just acquired from safety training by ESCOM.

Mtali Phiri (joined in August, 2021) and Makuleya Botha (2023) foiled an attempted act of vandalism in Ndirande Township and have been honoured for displaying a great deal of courage when they confronted a suspicious man who had climbed up an electricity pole purportedly fixing a fault, yet he did not wear ESCOM-branded attire.

The act, that happened on the afternoon of December 28, 2023, was caught on camera and went viral on social media as the man was ordered to climb down but as soon as he took off the climbing  up climbing gear, he attempted to flee.

Botha Phiri and Botha chased the man, identified as Samson Ngalande, who was handed him over to the police with the help of ESCOM security officers.

The presentation ceremony was a celebration of dedication as previously, ESCOM employees treated matters of vandalism with a laissez faire attitude with the belief that ‘it’s government property, why should I intervene’.

Thus Kumwenda’s management, after the first act of bravery in Mangochi, convinced ESCOM Board to approve the proposal to reward a spirit of innovation, hard work, dedication and passion for ownership of the public institution to inspire every member of staff going forward.

Kumwenda said in the spirit of ‘A New Customer Experience’, the initiative is to create a positive image of ESCOM as most cases of vandalism is being perpetrated by former employees but once the culture of ownership becomes deep rooted, the present generation would not attempt to steal from the very company that lifted their economic livelihood — not just by being honoured through the awards.

“I can attest that these four awardees were very brave and their actions  saved the company’s resources,” he said. “Electricity is very important, economically and socially and we must strive to provide best services and as we make profits, so shall we all be rewarded with salary increment.

Kumwenda said going forward, managament will be holding periodic interaction sessions with members of staff for motivation as well as to share challenges being faced and how to deal with deal and how to sustain the success stories.

The awardees were given cash rewards and certificates of recognition and on his part, Chrispin Banda — director of human resource & administration — announced that each of the winners would have their pictures framed and placed in a Hall of Fame that would be created.

He emphasised that Hall of Fame shall serve as an inspiration to all staff members that they shall remain immortalised long after they shall retire from service.

He also paid tribute to two members of staff who got drowned in the Shire River during Cyclone Ana as the boat they were using capsized when they were crossing the mighty river that had swollen to the brim.

Banda said the two were very brave as they tried to reach to communities whose power lines went down due to gusty winds and other equipment damaged from flooding — thus he said brevity in such conditions is rare.