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Engineers speak on new stadium

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By Isaac Salima:

Malawi Institute of Engineers President, Wilson Chirwa, has advised the government against constructing a new stadium in Blantyre but rather rebuild Kamuzu Stadium terraces.

Last year, President Peter Mutharika announced that the government would construct a stadium in Blantyre at Njamba Freedom Park.

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Chirwa said reconstructing new stands could be a better option for the country.

“The stands at Kamuzu Stadium have, indeed, deteriorated and the facility has outlived its lifespan but the best way would just be to demolish the existing stands and rebuild new ones. And in terms of combining use and construction works, I think it is possible as one or two stands can be worked on at a time without necessarily closing the facility,” Chirwa said.

He said the government was yet to consult them on the idea to construct a new stadium.

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“I am sure that the government has engaged some consultants but as engineers, if they could consult us, this is our position. However, as a country, we also need to reserve the green spaces as is the case at Njamba. So, constructing a new stadium at such a place is not a good idea,” he said.

Economics expert Ben Kalua said building a stadium does not make economic sense.

“This is duplicating infrastructure development instead of improving existing ones. This is a problem not only in Malawi but Africa at large, basically, with the Chinese intervention. Prioritisation seems to be a challenge where we rush to build new infrastructures when we can just improve the existing ones,” Kalua said.

Director of Sports in the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Culture, Jameson Ndalama, said the government follows procedures before coming up with a project.

“Projects like these are discussed at ministerial level with proper advice. We have our building department that handles such projects and we cannot bring in new ideas unless they originate from proper analysis of the situation,” Ndalama said.

Ndalama said the country needed many sports facilities and constructing a new stadium and maintaining Kamuzu Stadium might not be a bad idea.

He said they could not say when the construction works for the new stadium would start as they were yet to find a contractor.

Media reports indicate that the government is yet to fund the project despite Parliament approving K500 million for the same.

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