Unsuspecting residents are paying huge sums of money to block leaders and chiefs to have their free water connection application forms stamped before taking them to Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) Offices.
The revelation has riled Mayor for Lilongwe City Council Councillor Richard Banda, who has since warned that his office will work with the police in arresting the culprits.
He sounded the warning at Chinsapo-Unicef Ground on Tuesday where he was launching Ward Sanitation Committees.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP Lilongwe) and Oxfam Malawi facilitated the establishment of Ward Sanitation Committees with financial support from the European Union (EU) and the Royal Norwegian Embassy through Tilitonse Foundation.
A visibly angry Banda stated that what the chiefs and block leaders were doing was illegal and that his office will be compelled to track and report them to police them if they do not stop the practice.
“My office has received complaints from residents that some chiefs and block leaders are charging applicants for the free water connection. Let me tell: we do respect you, as our traditional and block leaders. But I must warn you to desist from engaging in criminal activities. When President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera announced the rolling out of the free water connection, he never said applicants should be paying something to the chiefs or block leaders to have their application forms stamped,” said the mayor.
Banda urged residents to report any chief or block leader involved in the malpractice to police or his office.
Turning to the Ward Sanitation Committees, the mayor said the committees had come at the right time when residents have been pressing the council to improve on garbage collection and management.
CCJP Lilongwe Programme Officer Mwai Sandram said the Commission remains committed to complementing the council’s efforts in creating a safe and healthy environment for the residents.
Sandram said CCJP Lilongwe is also facilitating and coordinating periodic engagements between the council and waste recyclers to ensure proper management of all the waste being generated in the city.