By Iommie Chiwalo
The zigzag approach coupled with seemingly treatment with kid’s groves by the Lilongwe City authorities on matters concerning hygienic conditions of Central Poultry (CP) has compelled Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) to call for fact validation exercise.
The calls by CDEDI comes following the company’s resumption of business operations, after the purported closure by the city authorities as a preventive measure to contain further spread of the Cholera outbreak.
As cholera is still on the rise, CDEDI embarked on an independent investigations which established that CP refused to sign the letter to formalize the closure and that the decision to turn the place into a compost centre instead of just dumping waste raises a lot of questions than answers.
According to CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, in the said letter the Lilongwe City Council Deputy Director of Health Jorlex Kantokoma said the closure was necessary because Chicken waste attracts a lot of flies making the place a fertile ground for the spread of cholera and that CP was asked to destroy the structures.
A communication from Lilongwe City Council, CP was ordered to stop using the centre as a compost-making site with immediate effect until when proper procedures are followed [i.e. to prepare a project brief and submit the same to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources or Environmental Affairs Department for approval before establishing the compost making centre or waste station] and that when the approval is granted, the company was expected to come up with standard designs for waste transfer stations in line with Lilongwe City Council guidelines and standards.
However it has been discovered that CP never performed as expected by not submitting a project brief to the council.
On the prevailing events, CDEDI feels that consumers and indeed the general public are of the view that both CP and the city authorities owe Malawians an explanation.
“As a mouthpiece of the voiceless, CDEDI has, on behalf of millions of the consumers of your products, developed interest and embarked on a fact validation exercise, hence our interest to physically visit the CP premises for inspection in order to validate the information that is already in our possession,” Namiwa says.
Namiwa has since requested for Thursday, 26th January, 2023, from 10:00hrs as an ample time for fact validation exercise.
“CDEDI would also like to seize the opportunity during the said visit to discuss the long outstanding complaints to the company by the city residents of Area 1(Falls), Area 36, and those along the M1 road, who happen to continuously and painfully endure the pungent smell from your open waste disposal vehicles that literally pollute the air every time they carry refuse to the Area 38 dumping site in Lilongwe,” he said.
He has also requested the city authorities to allow Mr. Katokoma to join in the physical inspection of CP premises on the said date in order to appreciate the changes made to the site and the accompanying correspondence backing the decision to resume operations.
The company was shut down by the Lilongwe City Mayor Richard Banda, for operating a dump site used for compost without following proper procedures.
The closure took place following an exercise dubbed ‘sanitation inspection tour’ which also led to the closure of Waka-Waka market on Tuesday, 3rd January 2023.
It was in the press that the Mayor took this route because Lilongwe was and still is one of the hardest hit cities by the Cholera outbreak, and Area 36 where both CP and Waka-Waka are located, is also the hardest hit suburb.
Nonetheless, the news about the sudden ‘opening’ of the company has raised eyebrows and left tongues wagging considering the twists and turns.
“The majority of Malawians are of the view that some corners were cut in the process, given the supersonic speed at which major decisions were taken,”