LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse government plans to construct a MK9 billion swimming pool in Lilongwe has attracted backlash from Malawians on social media.
This follows government plans announcement of the Olympic Standard Swimming Pool and ancillary structures which are expected to be constructed at Kamuzu Institute of Sports in the capital city.
According to a notice published in a newspaper by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the ministry has finalized the evaluation process and now intends to award the to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
Sports Minister Ulemu Msungama justified the construction plans.
“It’s unfortunate that all comments alluding to the swimming pool project seem to suggest that the 9bln is all spent on the swimming pool. It would be best for one to understand the scope of works for one to make reasonable judgement. What one needs to immediately appreciate is that the project has been designed to international standards as it stands to host international competitions, starting with the all Africa championship..this means that the design specifications are to meet international standards at all costs. That on its own means the project will not be cheap.
“A snap shot of the scope would provide further understanding; the complex will have two swimming pools, one 25m and the other 50m designed for training and competitions respectively.. the pools are only 5% of the contract sum .. the complex will have a gym for the athletes, this is another 5% of the contract. The complex will have a stadia around the swimming pool that allows spectators, this includes complete changing rooms, conference rooms and a VIP section, this is about 25% of the contract,” justifies Msungama.
He added, “The complex will also have a social services center which takes about 5% of the contract. Another significant cost is the mechanical and electrical fittings of the complex to support the infrastructure that will be placed, this includes the roofing designs etc which is costing 15% of the contract.
“Last but not least there will need to be massive earthworks on the location to prepare it for the said infrastructure, not to mention roads and pavements which also are 15% of the cost. This all in a nutshell gives an idea where the 9bln total cost comes from. What we are constructing is a world class arena that will not only create a platform for Malawian athletes but will also create jobs and opportunities for a lot of people”
Despite Sports Minister justification of the project, Malawians have expressed mixed reactions on the plans mostly against the plan.
Some Malawians have described the project as “unacceptable” in a country where many youth are facing economic challenges.
Hastings Msosa says “After all we have failed to manage Bingu stadium. It fails even to host the so called top flight league in the country. It is failing to even generate its own income. How sure are we that this will give us money? How sure are we that we will manage it? How sure are we that the pools will give us much money if Bingu stadium is failing to generate through football?Have you noticed the state of mzuzu stadium? How i wish you renovate such stadiums. Anyway , misplaced priorities”.
Bright Mhango asks, “Okay, let’s do this…but why is the money and jobs going to a Chinese company?”.
“This nonsense must stop ! We have jobless youth in the country. This money can be used as soft loans for Unemployed Youth,” said Rodgers Kadiso Banda.
Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo supports, “This complex if built , with good maintenance plan and utilised properly has a big potential on the returns . It can produce athletes of world class who will spotlight Malawi . I pray that it will be built anywhere along the shores of lake Malawi where the potential exists for such . Otherwise if built inland it will only attract rich peoples kids who seemingly have passion for the sport”.