The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has called on residents of Area 18 in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, who recently were subject to drinking piped water mixed with sewer, to disregard the task force appointed by the country’s president.
HRCC has described the task force appointed by President Peter Mutharika as a waste of time and a drain on government resources questioning how the task force would work when already people have all the information as to what really happened for people to have their drinking water mixed with sewer.
“It is a fact that people were given contaminated water and we have multiple evidence, we believe subjecting Area 18 residents to another investigation is torture and humiliating after the trauma,” said HRCC Executive Director Robert Mkwezalamba.
On Tuesday, Mutharika appointed a task force which has been given 14 days to complete its task and submit a report to him.
Mkwezalamba said all that Mutharika could have done is to summon all players involved to submit their reports on what happened then act on the submissions rather establishing a task force.
“This is unnecessary. We appeal to Area 18 residents to disregard the task force. This is an attempt to derail the process and deny them the right for fair treatment for being exposed to unhealthy water given to them by the Lilongwe Water Board,” added Mkwezalamba.
Some commentators have also said that setting the task force just shows that President Mutharika is disconnected to what is happening in the country since by now all stakeholders including the residents and his own ministries know what happened and some have already suggested a way forward.
Following the incident, the more than 263 Area 18 households are demanding K4 million as compensation for each resident from the utility company Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and the Lilongwe City Council.
The presidential task force comprises of Chief Director in the Office of the President and Cabinet Rexie Chiluzi who is the chairperson; Director of Water in the Ministry of Agriculture Modesta Kanjaye; Chief State Advocate Pacharo Kayira; Director of Local Government Services Sphiwe Mauwa; and the director of Prevbentive Health Services in the Ministry of Health Storn Kabuluzi.