Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Why the rush in Salima-Lilongwe Water Project?


The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration never seems to learn from mistakes that it makes as far as protecting and managing the public purse is concerned.

Just a few weeks ago, the country was buzzing with reports that the government cut corners in importing maize from Zambia meant to feed 6.5 million Malawians who were reportedly facing food shortage.

The then minister of agriculture, George Chaponda, whose conduct in the deal was faulted by two inquiries, said his questionable involvement was due to the fact that the house that was Malawi was on fire and everything had to be done to rescue a child trapped inside the house.


Today, the country faces another deal, the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project, whose transactions raise more questions than answers. Ironically, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) Chief Executive Officer, Alfonso Chikuni, claims that LWB had to forego Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) because Lilongwe faced an imminent water crisis. To date, Lilongwe is not as dry as Chikuni wanted us to believe.

Even the chief legal adviser to the government, the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale is afraid that the country risks losing a fortune at the pace the deal is being pushed.

The contractor, Khato Civils is now claiming that he has spent over $50 million in a project that has not yet taken off.


The question that the DPP government is failing to respond is: what will happen if the EIA reveals that the project will not be viable as it will be in conflict with environmental concerns?

It is so blood curdling that the DPP government insists that such suspicious transactions are not peculiar to Malawi and that the project will be reviewed along the way.

Malawians only hope that this will not end up with Malawians reliving the Maizegate experience.

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