Malawi’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima on Tuesday blasted Shire River Basin Management Programme BRL Engineers for constructing a substandard MK290 million dyke which would not protect the people as intended.
Chilima, who visited the 823 metre dyke constructed along the Nkhande River in the area of Senior Chief Tengani in the district (Nsanje), expressed dissatisfaction with the way the dyke had been constructed, saying it would not protect the communities.
The aim of government putting up the dyke along Nkhande River was to protect people and their property in the event that the river floods.
Chilima was seen charged, demanding answers from the BRL officials on why they spent government money on something which was not sustainable.
In an interview, the Vice President said he was worried and not happy with the work as it did not reflect well on government’s efforts in developing the nation.
“I must say the truth that the dike is of substandard. I did not expect to see work like what I have seen today here. Even though I am not an engineer, I am justified to call the construction work substandard,” said Chilima.
The Vice President even told the BRL Engineers that the construction works should be reworked to reflect the real purpose of the dike, which is to protect the communities from the flooding water.
Chilima even regretted to have traveled a long distance to inspect something which was not worth the visit.
“I am really regretting that we have even spent resources to inspect something which will not protect our people. The project will not help our people.
“Therefore, we need to sit down and discuss so that the works should be reworked. This is a death trap to people because if the dike is washed away, then it will negatively affect on the communities,” said Chilima.
Nsanje Central Constituency Member of Parliament, who is also Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Francis Kasaila in whose constituency the dyke has been constructed, also expressed displeasure on the substandard works done.
Kasaila said the work is as good as having done nothing on the ground as it will not protect lives and property of the communities.
“We are not happy with the way the dike has been constructed. I and Senior Chief Tengani have been seeking audience with the BRL engineers but they have been shunning us. We wanted to give them advice which could have made the work to be perfected,” explained Kasaila.
One of the BRL leading engineers, Anati Jere, agreed to sentiments made by the Vice President over the substandard works on the Tengani dike.
Jere, however, said the amount of money spent resonated with the works which had been done on the dike.
“As the Vice President is putting it on the construction works, I agree with him. The work which has been done is worth the money spent or planned. However, as the Vice President has put it, we will have to sit down and see,” said Jere