China Civils and Senior Government Officials at the launch of the project

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Bombshell! Roads Authority (RA) boss Engineer Emmanuel Matapa is in hot soup over revelations that he went ahead to award a MK20 billion contract, for construction of a six lane highway in Lilongwe, before an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) was conducted.

This has been exposed during a stakeholders meeting in Lilongwe on Friday, October 8, 2021.

The meeting was among others attended by environmental activists, government officials and some property owners along the Kenyatta Drive.

RA stunned the stakeholders when it admitted that President Lazarus Chakwera launched the Kenyatta Drive and Mzimba Street projects without an ESIA in place.

Some citizens took to the social media to voice discontent over the cutting down of nearly 100 Mibawa trees that were planted along the Kenyatta in the 70s.

Some of the trees fell and destroyed the sanctuary electric fence, a development which activists described as reckless considering there are dangerous animals such as Hynaes in the sanctuary.

Another contentious issue raised at the meeting was that Matapa’s Roads Authority saw no need to consult owners of properties along the Kenyatta drive especially buildings such as Constantine, Shoprite, Game and Standard Bank, Toyota Malawi and Gada World among other properties to discuss how the project would affect their properties and terms of compensations if an agreement is reached.

ESIA is a multidisciplinary approach, which focuses on the evaluation of the economic and social impact of the project.

Meanwhile, activists have questioned the competence stature of Engineer Matapa after he decided to proceed with such a mega project without putting an important issue of ESIA into consideration.

Others are of the opinion that Matapa may have been under pressure from some politicians to hastily implement the project or that he may have gotten sweeteners from the Chinese Contractor China Civils, a company with a reputation for cutting corners.

On August 31, President Chakwera launched the project which will include an interchange at the current Kamuzu Central Hospital Roundabout and the improvement of Sharrar Road to a two-lane road in one direction and a single lane in the other direction.

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