Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Don’t play with people’s lives


It is common that when people seek justice, it is rare to see justice taking place. And when the people seeking that justice are ordinary citizens, they can as well forget it.

In July last year, the nation woke up to the shocking news that Area 18 residents had drank water mixed with sewage. The first reaction, perhaps, could have been that of disbelief since this was probably the first time something of this kind had attracted people’s attention.

Although it might have indeed been the first time to hear something like that, Malawians had the reason to believe that we regularly drink sewage without noticing it.


Maybe those are just our fears but the incident in Lilongwe is the perfect opportunity for Malawians to start demanding good services and at the same time this should be a lesson to utility companies to stop playing with people’s lives.

For this reason, we believe the High Court order in Lilongwe — which would see Lilongwe Water Board, Malawi Housing Corporation and Lilongwe City Council paying about K5.4 billion to the Area 18 residents — is a wake-up call.

We have always heard of sub-standard goods or products which find their way on the market thereby endangering the lives of people but there is little action taken. Apart from Malawi Bureau of Standards making a statement, not much is done to stop this malpractice.


Since most companies get away with it, there is nothing that can deter would-be offenders. We continue reading about liquor not fit for consumption being sold on the market, we continue reading about sub-standard salt on the market but what we would not read so often is that someone has paid heavily for playing with people’s lives.

We believe this landmark order made by the High Court in Lilongwe will set a precedence that everyone who plays with our lives—by distributing goods and products that are life-threatening — would someday pay heavily.

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