There is no denying that the K8 billion project Blantyre Water Board (BWB) is to embark on is beneficial to the country.
BWB intends to tap at least 20 million litres of water every day from Mulanje Mountain to areas such as Limbe in Blantyre, Malawi University of Science and Technology in Thyolo and Nguludi and other Chiradzulu areas.
What is obvious, though, is that BWB has embarked on a journey that calls for general consensus of all stakeholders to avoid dereliction of concerned parties’ custodial responsibility of the mountain.
The negligence from any party to the water project will have far reaching consequences that will haunt and scar the psyche and face of not only Mulanje residents but this country for hundreds of future generations long after the massif is exposed to unforeseeable ecological challenges that could affect the drinkable water, plants and animals therein.
Obviously, this is the reason, since BWB announced its plans to pump water from the mountain, there have been disagreements between the board and communities on how to implement the project,
The commotion that ensued yesterday at Mulanje Magistrates’ Court as nine members of a group known as Citizens for the Protection of Mulanje were denied bail is just one out of many.
The then minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda had had his share of tussling with communities opposing the way the water project is being implemented.
All court issues are there for the court to competently administer justice.
However, in the scheme of all the skirmishes, there is one clear message being sent: BWB did not do thorough homework to ensure that the enviable project is accepted by all and sundry.
The many problems the board is grappling with perhaps arise from the fact that the communities surrounding the mountain were not included from the onset of the project for them to feel part of it and pour in their input on the same.
The consultative and inclusive approach to the project is what BWB could have explored more before it thought of touching God’s providence, Mulanje Mountain. That is the only available lasting solution to the squabbles on Mulanje Mountain water project.