Of the professor’s query and ultra vires acts of Law Society on Lake Malawi water project

It in appreciated by everyone with full knowledge of, and love for, Malawi that the project involving tapping water from Lake Malawi to Lilongwe is extremely important and remarkable response to needs.

Soko: Law Society queries Lake Malawi water project

Lilongwe is fast expanding so is the statistics of consumers of such services like water and electricity.

According to recent NSO statistical projections, Malawi, which currently has a human population of not less than 16 million, is expected to reach 30 million people by the year 2030. That is barely 12 years from now.

At a national population of about 16 million people, Lilongwe has about 3 million people. The likelihood that the City’s population will double when Malawi reaches the projected 30 million is logically firm and less questionable. That will entail doubling in the demand for such resources and utilities like water.

Conversely, the supply capacity is under threat of mismatching the demand on account that apart from the available system being aged, Kamuzu dam, where the water is tapped, is under its own threat of sustainability as it has lately become a sad habit for Lilongwe river to be drying up in a period of over half the year length. With these pertinent dynamics, the project is of paramount due importance in mitigating the imminent crisis.

It becomes sad, therefore, that such a project that seeks to strategically respond to such possible crisis is facing unreasonable resistance. Firstly, the project was accused of not following proper tendering process. When this allegation was argued to its dismissal, those determined to frustrate the project have come up with yet another issue of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

One of the disciples tasked to frustrate this water project is one Kenneth Wiyo, an associate professor at Bunda College of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar). After failing to justify the allegations that the project didn’t follow proper tendering procedure, he now says there is no “hydrographic study and EIA” in place to support the commencement of the project. In his remarks, he raises the questions of power supply needed to pump water from the lake to the inlands of Lilongwe.

Let it be reminded, or indeed be known by the very public purported to be misguided, that an EIA is only used as a decision aiding tool rather than decision making tool. Neither does it mean that for a project to go ahead it has to be free from negative environmental impacts. It all lies within the competence of the selected formidable contractor to necessarily mitigate crucial estimated negative impacts.

Looking at complex water projects that Khato Civil has carried out in South Africa and other countries across Southern Africa, I declare with authority that I do not think Malawi can have special complex impacts that it can fail to manage or any special standards that Khato Civils cannot meet.

Khato Civils and South Zambezi make such a giant force with remarkable competence in construction and engineering projects. Complex projects in countries with highest standards than Malawi have been performed and delivered by this force. It sends me into laughter, therefore, to listen to “Engineers” who have never designed a footpath before, babbling some theoretical arguments.

That having been said, I do not want to join the assumption that there is no Hydrographic Study or EIA in place. The pending professor may end up swallowing shame once more.

Then turning to the Malawi Law Society (MLS) calls, my surprise continues. The MLS  has, in a letter dated March 21 2017, asked the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to furnish it with a report of the EIA conducted for the project. The Society has cited Section 24 of Environmental Management Act to emphasize the need for the EIA while, with an ultimatum of 7 working days, demanding a copy of the same. It is this demand and ultimatum by the MLS that I find irritating and grating.

While Section 25(3) of the Act calls for the EIA report to be open for public inspection, the MLS is not specified as the guarantor of public confidence to the report. I, therefore, think that the MLS is acting ultra vires. Acting beyond its power and mandate.

There is a proper institutional and administrative structure for EIA in Malawi and the ultimate technical authority is the Environmental Affairs Department in the relevant Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. It is this department which is responsible for the administration, implementation and monitoring of EIA and not the Malawi Law Society.

Finally, I wish to say that this project is so responsive to the needs of the people and the DPP government will undeniably take credit for delivering to the people. I am assuming that it is from this political fact that some politicians are using people like this horrible associate professor to try to shoot this project down. But there is danger: Once the contractor gets fed up with this political nonsense, he can simply pull out and demand compensation for what has been spent in mobilizing for the commencement since a lot has already been done.

Malawians will remain the bottom losers and once we discover that you were the spanners who disturbed the wheels of this useful project, we will not like you at all.


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Crazy at all costs!!! this article does not warrant publication. Its a disgrace! Why are the so call Alfonso Chikuni and indeed the Minister of Fincnance insist that the EIA will be done at all cost? And you have the gats that the professor was not responding to a point required by all standards? Usatipweteketse mutu ngati wasowa zolemba shupiti zako

Zinenani Zoona
First of all there was no tender. This is a PPP, private public partnership which is still supposed to go thru tendering. EIA, must be done because it is the law. The idea is that Khato will own the pipeline and everything. Lilongwe Water Board will buy water from Khato. There is a catch here which Khato should be mindful of: Lilongwe has an existing water scheme which provides over 80% of Lilongwe’s water needs. It means that LWB may or may not buy from Khato depending on the levels of Kamuzu dam. Other arguments are that it is too… Read more »

There was no bidding for this contract.. wake up Malawians. DPP is just looking for money for campaign. Show me the bid documents!!!! Who competed and who evaluated the bids? How does one cost a project without knowing the environmental impact which he will have to mitigate? Zopusa basi. kumangogawana ndala za dziko losaukali. Milking a very thin cow


Read the powers and functions of the law society under the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act to answer ur question of ultra vires

Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
Well, the contributor of this article should have contributed it under a different name and not that of Lord Denning, born Alfred Thompson “Tom” Denning, who died on March, 5, 1999 at the age of 100. Lord Denning, was in fact the most famous and influential judicial figure of the century in United Kingdom. Barristers such as Tony Blair appeared before this judicial figure to defend clients or represent clients. Upon his untimely death, Mr. Blair, a former British Prime Minister, was quoted as saying that Lord Denning “was one of the great men of his age… he used the… Read more »

Negracious Justin, were you the same person who argued that the project was overpriced and did not follow tendering due process. Now you can come here to flout other Environment Impact Analysis procedure, Akudyetsa eti

The writer of this article is too emotional. He has failed to balance his arguments. What is observed in this article is pure politically oriented assumptions. Firstly, the writer should be reminded that EIA for such mega projects in Malawi is a legal requirement and not an option at all. Public disclosure of the same to the public is another important provision in the EIA guidelines. Much as such projects are important, as has rightly been said, it need not to go through short cuts. If the aw requires for certain procedures to be followed in the implementation process, let… Read more »

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