A man identified as Kasawila Samuel Kudakwache Lupwayi,48, has been found dead after drowning in a canal in Area 3 in Lilongwe following heavy rains that fell on Thursday, January 2, 2020 in the city.

The incident occurred where Lilongwe City Council is currently digging a canal across an alley running from the southern side of National Bank towards Malawi News Agency’s offices.

In an interview on Wednesday, an eye witness who opted for anonymity said the deceased had been seen trying to cross the canal.

“I saw a man coming from the side of the National Bank. He was crossing to the other side. Water was on the waist level. So, I called one of the salesmen to come and see what was happening.

“Then the man made one step; the water was on the neck and within a second, he disappeared,” the source said.

The drain which the city council is digging connects to an underground tunnel outside the shops close to the place where the drain is being dug. The underground tunnel runs down to the Shoprite area.

“So, we called the city within 20 minutes. They came and opened one septic tank; they didn’t see anything. They went to another tank; they didn’t find anything.

“They said they would come after the rains stopped because that time it was still raining.

But on Wednesday (January 8), six days after the incident, shop owners and vendors who sell various items around the place said a bad smell was coming from the septic tank and thought it was the person they had seen drowning.

When they opened it, they could not see clearly if what they saw in the tank was really a person.

However, Thursday (January 9) dawned to the news that there was really a dead man in the septic tank after it had been excavated during the night by authorities responsible.

Central Region Police spokesperson, Joseph Kachikho, identified the deceased as Blantyre-based businessman, Kasawila Samuel Kudakwache Lupwayi who had come to Lilongwe to inspect his house which is being constructed at Biwi.

“People should avoid crossing on waters even if it appears to be shallow because the place where Lupwayi stepped appeared to be shallow but when he stepped in, he was carried away by the water,” said Kachikho.

Lupwayi, who hailed from Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe in Rumphi District, was born on 18 June, 1972.

People who work around the place have faulted the city council for not putting any sign to indicate that people should not use the passage despite requests made to them.

“So, these guys from the city came. On the third of January they were still working but they put no warning. So, what was happening is that when people want to cross, others close by could shout ‘don’t cross.’

“It was only today (Thursday) that they (city council) have put the tape,” said the source.

“They dug a drain but did not put any sign around the drain. When the rains came, it filled with water,” said another eye witness, Lyson Nangoma.

Vendors who do ply businesses around the place closed the hole that connects the drain being dug to the underground tunnel to prevent a similar incident when they saw that the safety tape was not put by the people who were digging the drain.

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