Residents of Ndirande-Malabada are totally not convinced that the decomposed body that was discovered on Thursday, March 26 2020 in a water chamber at Blantyre Water Board’s Chamber 79 in the area did not contaminate the supply to the residents.
In a statement after pressure from the residents for an explanation, BWB explains it had been working on Chamber 79 after receiving complaints from its customers that there was no water flow.
BWB explains that after finishing the maintenance works, there was still no water flow and its team of technicians was deployed to check on the pipeline to Ndirande Tank.
“As BWB inspectors were still carrying out checks on the pipeline, they discovered a human dead body in a chamber,” BWB explains.
“The matter was immediately reported to Police [who went] to the scene and removed the dead body,” says the statement.
While BWB says the police are currently investigating the incident, there are conflicting reports because the residents have been told that the deceased was actually BWB’s member of security team assigned for Chamber 79.
The sources say the security guard had actually been missing three weeks prior to March 26 and when the body was retrieved it had totally disintegrated — the head detached from the rest of the body and was immediately buried at a nearby grave yard.
Yet the statement did mention that the deceased was their member of staff, which the residents came to know after been tipped by the fellow guard he was sharing shifts with.
Residents are very irked by this development and several have resorted to buying bottled water for drinking because they feel the water was contaminated.
However, BWB assure customers that “the incident did not result in any contamination of the water which we offer to our customers”.
“Our water is disinfected with chlorine and tested before being distributed to our customers,” says the statement.
While assuring customers that it will continue to update the progress of the investigations, BWB opened the water chamber to clear the pipeline the same day after the body was retrieved, and the water was seen being harvested by residents it had flowed to.
Some residents of Malabada Malawi Housing Corporation neighborhood, that is popularly known as Malaysia, said they noticed some residuals in water from the taps especially from bottles they used to store water in their refrigerators.
“We need to engage BWB on this,” commented one resident on the neighborhood WhatsApp group. “The statement they have issued is half truth.”
After learning that the deceased was actually a BWB member of staff, the residents suspect that it seems the guards don’t have a security post and at night they just improvise as shelter a small building that is adjacent to the main chamber.
This little building, it seems, is where water flows in from source before it goes into the main underground tank which is huge.
“[The truth is that] it’s negligence on the part of BWB for not providing enough security and safety to their main intake.
“They need to take necessary measures to avoided the repeat of the same,” commented the resident on the WhatsApp group, which was agreed by almost everyone.
On its breaking news report, Zodiak Online quotes BWB chief executive officer Daniel Chaweza as saying the body was found in a chamber used to control flow of water and not in the actual tank.
But then the resident still query if this water that is controlled does not get back into the main feeder pipeline.
The incident and the BWB statement went viral on Facebook and one of the commentators, Lucy Tupochere Kumpama, quickly came to the defence of the water service provider, saying the water that went to people was not contaminated.
“First, the person blocked the pipes so water wasn’t coming out completely,” she said. “The Board, after tracing the source of the problem noted the said tank and immediately closed all taps going to households; emptied the tank washed and disinfected it and put more chemicals and tested the water.
“So far no contaminated water went to peoples taps and by the time people started getting water again it was clean safe water.
“Above all, the Board has put strick measures to avoid a repeat of the occurrence by prohibiting people in that area. BWB has tried to be honest and acknowledged the problem but it wasn’t the fault of the Board — in this case it was a trespasser.”
She, however, indicated she was not officially speaking for BWB and people still were skeptical of all this explanation, with Yona Aakin Aaron
asking a million dollar question that how did the dead body in the chamber affect the water flow.
“This reminds me of the multiple choice answer: both statement and the reason are correct but the reason is not the correct explanation of the statement. Remember you have engineers here guys,” Aaron said.
Moses Kachingwe says: “The statement contradicts itself. Customers complained of no water flow, then a team of inspectors traced a dead body in a pipe line but there was no contamination, really?”
To which Matthews Mtumbuka commented: “I am sorry but this is the worst press release in have seen this year. We are left more confused and with more questions than before,” he said, adding that perhaps BWB should furnish someone else with some facts so that another press statement should be composed.
Soon after the incident happened, this reporter sought explanation from BWB PRO Evelyn Khonje, who acknowledged receipt of the questionnaire sent and promised to respond.
But she did not and when reminded on Saturday she responded the following day to say they were waiting for police and medical reports as well as that from Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS).
The statement reached this reporter at 22:52hrs on Sunday, which did not explain some of the questions raised such as why the outlet was not covered and also to explain if indeed the victim fell into the hole three weeks ago.
The statement also did not explain how secure the place is and a site visit there found not a single guard at the facility and that the chamber that the body was found it is still not covered.
The whole place is almost an abandoned and neglected facility and that raises further the doubts that BWB has “put strict measures to avoid a repeat of the occurrence by prohibiting people in that area” as explained by Kumpama on Facebook.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :