Zomba District Council apologizes to communities over water project


By Synd Kalimbuka

Zomba district council on Tuesday apologised to Chingale communities for failing to finish a K1.2 billion water project funded by the World Bank.

During a meeting which took place at Mango Lodge in Zomba, communities demanded clarification on why the council failed to finish the water project.

Chairperson for Chingale taskforce Francis Gondwa said the council is now taking people in Chingale for granted.

Gondwa said shortage of water in the area has affected every service including education and health.

He expressed concern that World Bank funds disappeared and the project was not completed.

He then demanded District Water Development Officer to explain how the money meant for the project was used.

Representing chiefs, Sub Traditional Authority Nkapita appealed to government to consider providing water and other services in the area.

Responding to the concerns on behalf of the council, District Water Development Officer Davis Bonga apologized during the meeting for the delay and for failing to provide potable water to the community of Chingale.

Bonga said the meeting had shaken the council to wake up and start taking steps to help the affected communities.

He, however, said deforestation in the water catchment areas of Chingale contributed a lot to the drying up of all rivers hence the council is failing to bring water to the communities.

“People in the area cut all the trees in the forest which is the catchment area for water sources. This contributed a lot to shortage of water,” said Bonga.

He advised people in the area to stop deforestation and start conserving environment especially in water catchment areas to bring back the forest.

In addition, Bonga said government is coming in with a new project as an alternative through boreholes powered with solar powered to supply water to communities.

Project Manager responsible for economic governance at Centre for Social Concern Benard Mphepo said what Chingale communities are facing is a result of lack of transparency and accountability on financial management.

He said government is losing a lot of money through corruption where people are suffering as they do not get desired services.

He added that this is a concern to all Malawians as money to repay the loan to World Bank will come from people through taxes.

Communities have since expressed commitment to continue pushing the council to provide them with safe water.

Concerned groups that attended the meeting were Human Rights Defenders Coalition, chiefs, Area Development Committees, Ward Councillors, Community TaskForce members and youth representatives.