The Malawi government on Friday made a rare pro-active approach to issues when it moved in quickly with assistance to Maula prison which has had some cells and office buildings destroyed by hail storms and ‘rains of terror’ on Thursday.
Just hours after the incident, officials from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs DoDMA were on the ground responding to the crisis hand in hand with City Council officials clearing debris in the city.
Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister of Disaster Management Affairs, demonstrated what working around the clock means.
After meeting Mzuzu Council officials and representatives of a swampy area called Masasa on Friday evening to press for relocation, attending to International Day for Disaster Reduction commemoration on Saturday morning in Mzuzu and then visiting Masasa area in the afternoon, the Vice President went straight to Maula prison in Lilongwe to assess the situation first hand and assure that government would do what is possible to ensure that everything is back to normal by Tuesday.
“If I were not in Mzuzu I would have been here in the morning. Please use the assistance we have brought to cushion the suffering. Fix the iron sheets and everything by Tuesday. We will be with you and everything has to be done by Tuesday,” directed Chilima.
The Vice President also directed the prison to return back the iron sheets which a government supplier had delivered because they were of low quality.
“I don’t think these are the iron sheets that DoDMA ordered. Call the supplier now to get back these iron sheets and deliver what was ordered. Putting these kind of iron sheets is courting more trouble,” said Chilima.
Earlier, as he toured the destroyed cells the veep recieved a standing ovation from the vocal prisoners who shouted words of praise for him. Others chanted ‘Chilima! Chilima! Chilima!”