Thursday 19 October 2017

Malawi: Chakwera Backs Malawi Govt Over Mega Water Project

Malawi: Chakwera Backs Malawi Govt Over Mega Water Project
(Nyasa Times 08/08/17)

Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera has thrown his full weight behind the controversial US$400 million Lake Malawi water project which government is initiating to end water woes in the Capital City.

In a media interview, Chakwera said the water project is the only lasting solution to the persistent water problems in Lilongwe and surrounding areas.

"We needed the project yesterday. The issues of Area 18 where water was contaminated with human waste is a clear indication that we need the water project," said Chakwera.

His sentiments are however in contrast to the country's donors and some section of civil society who have asked the government to follow all procedures before embarking on the project.

South Africa-based Khato Holdings Limited, through a joint venture of Khato Civils (Pty) Limited and Zambezi (Pty), was contracted by Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and Malawi Government to install the water pipeline project following a closed tender process involving over six companies and a successful business pitch at the Malawi Investment Forum (MIF).

However, critics, including Kenneth Wiyo, an associate professor at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) who is also a certified registered engineer with over 22 years of experience, have cast doubts on the project implementation.

Lilongwe Water Board chief executive officer Alfonso Chikuni however said if the project is not rolled out soon, all taps in the Capital City would go dry as the water system is obsolete.

Chakwera said the new water project would replace all old water pipes which would ensure that there is no repeat of what happened in Area 18, Lilongwe.

This is a rare moment when Chakwera has agreed with some government policies.

A recent survey shows that he and his Malawi Congress Party are leading in polls ahead of the 2019 general election.

By Owen Khamula

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