State Vice-President Saulos Chilima Friday advised councils in the country to ensure that all construction projects for public structures like schools, markets and hospitals are granted to reputable contractors who produce good work.
Speaking when he visited Phwezi and Mzokoto trading centres in Rumphi District which were hit by floods and stormy winds last month, Chilima said he had observed that most public structures that are being damaged are substandard.
“Like Zolozolo in Mzuzu City, the building whose roof was blown off by stormy winds was a result of bad workmanship.
“You would see some buildings that were built 20 years ago that they were still standing but one of those affected was just erected 10 years ago.
“So wherever construction works are involved, especially of public structures like schools, markets and hospitals, engage reputable contractors that do quality work,” he said.
Chilima was however quick to point out that his declaration does not suggest he is against ‘Buy Malawi Campaign’.
Instead, he said, councils need to be strict by engaging reputable contractors that will erect quality buildings that are solid and not risky to people.
The Vice-President then asked the council officials, community and traditional leaders to discourage people from settling or conducting business in disaster prone areas.
He made the passionate appeal in a veiled reference to Phwezi Trading Centre where 17 shops with goods worth millions of kwachas were swept away by the raging floods after a heavy downpour that prompted Lungazi River to burst its banks.
“I beg you to stop construction a long river banks. It’s disaster in waiting. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that this is a potential risky area.
“There [at the trading centre] I saw a nice shop; but it was built on a wrong place and we need to tell our people that this is a disaster risk area,” he said.
Chilima handed over relief items from government to all those affected in the area.
The items included a bag of maize, plastic sheets, blankets, pails and plates to every victim.
Apart from visiting the victims at Phwezi and Mzokoto trading centres, Chilima visited Phwezi Boys Secondary School which was also affected by the stormy weather.
He pledged government assistance towards repairing of the structures whose roofs were blown off by stormy winds on December 1 last year at Phwezi Boys and Girls secondary schools.
Speaking earlier, Rumphi District Commissioner Lusizi Nhlane said 133 households across the district were affected by the stormy weather on December 1 and December 15 last year at Phoka ( Livingstonia), Phwezi and Mlowe.
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