Country wide anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations organized by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), have compromised construction of Mzimba District Council Office Complex following damage and looting of K40 million worth equipment and building materials.
The loss was disclosed Monday by Managing Director of DEC Construction Company, Dan Chale, when Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Ben Phiri visited the project to appreciate its status.
He explained that during the demonstrations, thugs and looters, who capitalized on the volatile situation, torched a warehouse and sophisticated equipment before looting everything their hands laid on, in the administration office block.
“Setting on fire construction machines and a warehouse which stalked a lot of delicate building materials and subsequent looting of office equipment and stationery has been a major setback on progress on the project,” Chale said.
Project Site Manager, Wongani Phiri,said some of the machines which were set ablaze are three phase electronic concrete mixture, three phase gen set, two phase compactor, dumpy level, porker vibrator and many other electrical accessories.
The Site Manager added that all metallic and plastic ware, such as metal rods,mess wire and pipes, were destroyed by fire when the warehouse was set ablaze and could no longer be used.
“Looters who pulled down an iron sheet made fence and pelted stones at guards, also stole bags of cement, workers protective gear, like gumboots, gloves, helmets and work suits and tools such as wheel barrows, shovels, panga knives, hoes and pick,” he added.
Mzimba Police Public Relations Officer(PRO), Peter Botha feigned ignorance on whether any looterswere arrested, let alone recovery of the stolen items.
Mzimba Police Station Officer, Richard Bullo said six people, aged between 20 to 25, were arrested in connection to the arson, vandalism, looting and theft at the project site.
“We arrested six people who were charged with an offence of malicious damage and theft. Unfortunately, when we dragged them to court, they were acquitted,” he said.
The Minister condemned the development as retrogressive and blamed organizers of the demonstrations for losing direction and focus.
“Demonstrations have never solved any lift in the World.If there are misunderstandings over certain issues, the best way out is to drag each other to a round table discussion, to resolve the matters once and for all, which is key for unity, harmony and prosperity of the nation,” Phiri said.
The office complex project is a three plus one stories building with an elevator and will house all government offices for proper and effective administration.
Mzimba District Commissioner, Thomas Chirwa has said once the project completed, the structure would change the land scape of Mzimba Boma.
The construction work is at a super structure first floor phase also known as decking form work stage.
The July 26 demonstrations were the first demos to take place in Mzimba South District and were patronized by a bigger group of youngsters, most of them not aware of why they had to hit the streets.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :