Malawi is rapidly deteriorating into failed-state status and would be declared so failed should the persistent water and electricity woes currently rocking the country not be abated, a local human rights watchdo has said.
Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), a local non-governmental organisation focused on promoting and defending human rights, said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times on Monday signed by executive director, Gift Trapence, that it strongly express their displeasure with lack of any visionary leadership in the management of the persistent water and electricity challenges.
“Water shortages and electricity blackouts have become the norm and not the deviation in recent times,” CEDEP said. “ This is happening despite the fact that the water and electricity tariffs are way too high for most ordinary Malawians.”
The statement added: 2 What is even more disheartening is that the government, which is responsible for the supply of water and electricity, is not forthcoming with any credible and tangible information on any possible solutions to the water and electricity woes.”
Lack of visionary leadership
According to the organisation, the country’s present scenario displays lack of seriousness and visionary leadership which the DPP government “promised” during the campaign period.
“For example during the rainy season we are normally told the water shortages and electricity blackouts are caused by the mud that gets into the supply pipes and the dams. What about now during summer? The water and electricity challenges have been there for a very long period of time. Of course, they are getting worse as days go by,” adds the statement.
Malawi continues to experience intermittent water and electricity supply despite the country having a lot of natural resources which can support the supply of the same. Malawians continue to suffer in enduring long hours and days without any water flowing in their taps and electricity.
Cedep argues persuasively that the problems can be stopped.
“We all remember how persistent water shortages used to affect citizens of the city of Zomba and surrounding areas in the early 1990s.But a solution was found and water was tapped from Mulunguzi Dam from the Zomba Mountain. Today, water shortages in Zomba are history. Why can’t the same be done with the other cities? For instance Lake Malawi is only 100km from the city of Lilongwe.
“With Kamuzu dam drying up, why can’t there be deliberate efforts to harvest the water resources from the Lake and consequently end the water woes in Lilongwe City? Does the government have any plans be it short term or long term to invest in piped water systems? Again in the city of Blantyre, why can’t the government utilize the water resources that are found only 66km kilometres away on Mulanje Mountain?” questioned Cedep.
Woes violation of rights
Cedep pointed out that the woes are a violation to the people’s human rights and are crippling the country’s economy by far.
“In denying people access safe and clean water as well as electricity, the government is grossly violating the right to economic activity, the right to education, the right to health and consequently the right to life. Officials entrusted with the task to manage the utility companies need not to bury their heads in the sand thinking the problems will disappear on their own.
“The manufacturing sector and other large scale businesses that contribute a larger portion to the GDP to our economy which is already in a very sorry state make a lot of losses due to water and electricity shortages. The production rate has been reduced by over 60 percent as people who require electricity everywhere including in offices that offer services to Malawians like passports and driving licenses remain idle for the better part of the day,” the statement further reads.
It adds: “Malawians indulging in small scale businesses such as operating barbershops, salons, video centres and other business requiring water and electricity are also suffering. It is our sincere hope that the government acts on these issues with utmost bravery immediately for the benefit of all Malawians that entrusted it to run the affairs of this country on their behalf.
“ This is a crisis of colossal magnitude and requires serious attention from the government. The government needs to come out clearly on how it intends to avert these problems.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :