Malawi’s revered governance and human rights advocate, Undule Mwakasungula, has described as strange and retrogressive an action taken by the Forum for National Development (FND) to stop government from borrowing money for the Lake Malawi Water Supply Project.
Through its lawyer, the Fryson Chodzi-headed organisation has obtained an interlocutory injunction stopping commercial banks – NBS Bank and National Bank of Malawi and Khato Civils (Private) Limited – from transacting financially on the project.
The order does not state the reasons that prompted Chodzi to take the action.
But in reaction to the development, Mwakasungula described the step FND has taken as ‘worrisome and a setback on this long much awaited water supply project’.
He stressed that putting partisan interests aside the Lake Malawi Water Supply Project is a very important and viable project.
“The project will tap water from Lake Malawi to the city of Lilongwe, surrounding areas and town centres along the M14 Lilongwe – Salima Road. The Project will also increase water availability for Lilongwe City and strengthen capacity of Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and surrounding towns as to respond to adverse climatic conditions, hence sustain reliable water supply to its customers,” said Mwakasungula.
“Water, being life, it is paramount to remember that our way of life depends on clean water. Our economy depends on clean water, manufacturing, farming, tourism, recreation, energy production, and other economic sectors need clean water to function and flourish hence the importance of the Lake Malawi Water Supply Project,” he added.
He cites Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which ensures availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and this confirms the importance of water and sanitation in the national and global political agenda.
SDG 6 also recognizes that social development and economic prosperity depend on the sustainable management and sharing of freshwater resources and ecosystems.
Mwakasungula therefore appealed to the FND leadership to withdraw the injunction to allow the facilitation of the project without further hindrance. It is no secret this project has been surrounded by so much controversies since its inception but politics aside it is a much – needed project for the benefit of Malawians.
“Much as we have constitutional democratic rights to exercise, it is also time we promoted national issues above and beyond our political interests for the sake of national development,” he implored.