Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has protested the intention by the Government of Malawi to award China Railway 20 Bureau Limited (CR20) a contract to rehabilitate Bangula-Marka Railway line.
CDEDI has since written the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jacob Hara, to consider withdrawing the authorization letter to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) in order to allow for adequate soul-searching before settling for a company to do the rehabilitation of the much-awaited railway line rehabilitation project.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa draws Hara’s attention to Section 53 subsection 2 (f) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act of 2017, which, among others, cites past performance as one of the criteria in deciding to award a contract to a contractor. It is an open secret that Malawians are dissatisfied with the quality of works CR20 is implementing on the Nsanje-Marka road project.
Namiwa emphasizes that while CDEDI is delighted that government is keen at ensuring that it revives the Sena corridor that will connect Malawi to Mozambique through the 44 Kilometre Bangula-Nsanje railway line, there is a need for due diligence to ensure that Malawians get the quality service possible.
“It does not need emphasis that good road network, the railway line inclusive, is a catalyst of socio-economic development for any nation. In fact, the road sector has a myriad of multiplier effects that trickle down to all and sundry. It is also worth pointing out right here that we, at CDEDI, do not have any problem with any contractor as long as they deliver to the expectation of the citizens and in line with what is contained in their contractual agreements with the Government of Malawi, on one hand, and that due diligence was done, on the other hand, to ensure that the nation realises a high standard project that guarantees value for the hard-earned taxpayers’ money before awarding the contract,” reads part of the letter.
The letter also calls upon the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Sosten Alfred Gwengwe, and the Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Martha Chizuma to equally take action on the matter.
Namiwa adds that the appointment of Hara to the Ministry of Transport and Public Works raised people’s hopes that soon or later sanity will prevail in this critical sector, and that millions envisioned the raising of the bar in as far as the standards of our public infrastructure is concerned.
He therefore challenged Hara to personally take interest in inspecting the Nsanje-Marka Road, which is being washed away even before CR20 completed the construction work.
“Apart from the grass root voices in Nsanje district, professional bodies such as those for engineers have raised a red flag on the quality of the said project. In a normal situation, therefore, none expected such a contractor to be rewarded, but rather be reprimanded, and if it were in other countries that are serious with issues of standards and professionalism, this company would have been sent packing! Hence this letter is copied to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Ministry of Finance, and the PPDA, for their information, deep reflection, and action. Refer to the newspaper articles marked Appendix 1, 2 and online links marked Appendix 3,4,5,6 and 7, to appreciate the basis of our action to write you Hon. Minister,” he wrote.
“CDEDI is meanwhile, challenging you Hon. Minister to travel to Nsanje to appreciate the kind of works done by this company before making any decision. If indeed your interest Hon. Minister is to serve Malawians without impunity and arrogance, and if indeed there are no personal and selfish interests attached to this decision, then you should consider cancelling this process immediately, for the good of your own legacy,” thus Namiwa concluded his epistle to Hara.