CDEDI demands probe into workmanship of public roads and bridges

In light of numerous cases of bridges and roads being washed away due to the impact of stormy rains Malawi is currently receiving, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has demanded a thorough audits on road and water supply projects and disclosure of their respective contractual agreements.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa told journalists in Lilongwe on Thursday that the organization believes the poor workmanship on the country’s roads and water supply infrastructures are a result of the “nauseating deep-rooted corruption entrenched in the construction industry.”

Namiwa said the situations Malawi is currently experiencing due natural disasters, such as Cyclone Ana, provide an opportunity for the country to raise the standards of public infrastructure and fight corruption.


“CDEDI has noted with great concern that the heavy rains the country is experiencing have exposed poor workmanship, negligence and outright disregard of contractual details in the implementation of some projects. It does not need emphasis that a good road network is a catalyst for development. However, as a country, we have needlessly lost lives due to road accidents because of poor conditions of the roads and washed-away bridges,” he said.

The firebrand human rights activist argued that although the impact of the cyclones and tropical storms has been devastating, Malawians are their own witnesses that, to a large extent, the losses of lives, and government finances are due to poor workmanship.

He challenged Malawians to keep “a keen eye on public infrastructure projects being implemented in their areas as one way of guaranteeing value for the money spent on the projects, such as roads, railways and bridges.”

Namiwa also challenged CDEDI the Roads Authority (RA) to audit projects under its jurisdiction against details of signed contracts for the same, and give feedback on the same.

“Among other projects, and in the interest of transparency and accountability, CDEDI demands the disclosure of contractual agreements of the following road projects: Jenda-Edingeni, Karonga –Songwe, Mzimba-Mzalangwe, Kapiri-Mkanda, Ntchisi –Malomo, Kenyatta Drive and Sharrar Street, Ntcheu-Tsangano, Nsanje –Marka and Nsanama –Nayuchi. CDEDI has given the NRA seven (7) days to provide the requested information,” he said.

Additionally, CDEDI has implored Malawi must deploy due diligence in tender processes for all projects.

Namiwa cited the 72-kilometre Nsanje-Marka railway line whose tender process is underway.

“CDEDI calls upon the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to provide adequate soul searching and due diligence to ensure that the company it hires for the project is of impeccable expertise and good repute. In addition, CDEDI also calls for audits by relevant authorities on projects in the water and sanitation sector, which is another sector that needs constant check to ensure that Malawians have access to potable water. Projects for which we demand audits include the following: Karonga Water Supply and Nkhata Bay Water Supply Project. CDEDI hereby requests the Northern Region Water Board to institute audits in regard to these projects as soon as possible,” he said.

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