Communities in Rumphi District who applied for the installation of electricity in the district have given the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) a period of Fourteen days to connect their houses to power or else face a mass demonstrations.
During a meeting held on Monday initiated by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) some residents complained that they paid the power utility body in 2014 for the installation of power but up to now there is no any progress to justify their payment hence calling for a mass demonstration.
Through out the meeting ESCOM officials continued making contradictory remarks trying to justify their delay to install power to the applicants, who also demanded answers on some serious allegations of corrupt practices taking place at the District Escom office where some officers are said to be demanding bribes.
In response to the allegations of corrupt practices during question time , Mzuzu ESCOM District Engineer George Matukuta shifted the blame to the absence of the Access to Information (ATI) law which is still gathering dusti in the minister’s office pending signature to effect its usage.
The ATI could be very essential in circumstances like this because that will help the population to know exactly how state owned institutions like ESCOM operates hence promotion of accountability and transparency at all levels,”
He further told the gathering that ESCOM is failling to meet the cost of power installation to its new customers since all the required appliances including the poles and cables are now being procured from outside the country unlike in the past when the Viphya Plantations (Chikangawa forest) used to be the source of supply
One of the participant to this citizenry engagement meeting,Maggie Kaunda astonished the gathering when she informed the ESCOM officials and HRDC leaders that her son was electrocuted by a faulty power line and now her child is mentally ill but never got compensated in anyway.
Speaking after the meeting the HRDC District Secretary Walita Moir Mkandawire expressed satisfaction with the citizenry participation in engaging duty bearers demanding accountability on pertinent issues affecting their daily living.
As one way of ensuring speed installation to its customers late last year the power utility body raised the installation fee from K46 000.00 to K93 000.00 with the aim of trying to meet the whole cost of connection process.
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