Social commentator pin Simbi Phiri over Salima-Lilongwe water project

A social commentator says there are still questions over the Salima-Lilongwe water project because of the way the contract was awarded to Simbi Phiri’s Khato Civils.

The commentator Onjezani Kenani made the remarks following Phiri’s recent interview in which the businessperson accused government officials of blocking the K400 billion project.

Kenani said transparency is of paramount importance in such a project and he also asked if Malawians are getting a fair deal.

“Some of us strongly objected and remain unalterably opposed to the Salima-Lilongwe Project because it was awarded in a manner that lacked transparency.

“Justification for the project was awfully inadequate. Already there was the Diamphwi Dam Project in the pipeline. The Lilongwe Water Board had spent millions of dollars on it – borrowed from international lending institutions. All that remained was paying compensation to the people occupying the land. The Diamphwi project was surprisingly abandoned without convincing justification, and everyone began to parrot one line, ‘Lilongwe city needs water and the Salima project is the only way’,” Kenani wrote on Facebook.

The Salima-Lilongwe water project which seeks to pump water from Lake Malawi to the Capital City was challenged in court by activist Charles Kajoloweka over alleged corruption and state capture fears.

Counsel Bright Theu who represented the activist complained in 2017, while the case was in court, that he was offered money to walk away from the case.

In 2018, Justice Lovemore Chikopa dismissed the activist’s case against Khato Civils on technical grounds allowing the project to continue.

Currently, government and the company are yet to agree on funders for the project.

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