BY UCHIZI MBANGE
Karonga Central Constituency legislator Leonard Mwalwanda has warned authorities at Karonga District Council to ensure high standards – especially in construction projects – saying communities deserve better.
The parliamentarian, nephew to former MP of the earlier late Dr Cornelius Mwalwanda, said on Monday ahead of the construction of senior staff houses at Mwenilondo Health Centre – at the heart of the constituency – that he would not tolerate shoddy projects in his constituency.
“These staff houses are very critical to health services delivery hence the need for standards,” Mwalwanda told Shire Times in an interview. “More houses will mean more health personnel at this health centre. Some contractors think because they are in the village it means they can do whatever with our projects. I am warning them to let go of such thinking.”
According to Mwalwanda, himself a civil engineering consultant, it was crucial that contractors understood clients’ need to see value for their money.
“We want to have the best of the houses and materials which deserve the value of the money that has been put into the project,” said Mwalwanda.
He called on members of the community, especially the development committee, to have a sense of ownership for the project and make sure they inspected throughout.
“We should all frequently visit the site to see the progress of the house and the materials being used if at all they meet the standards, if they are not, we should always query,” he said.
On his part, Karonga District Commissioner, Paul Kalilombe, assured the community members that the council aims at upping their standards in construction projects.
“To assure that the house is of high standard, we have increased transparency and we are also following guidelines presented to us by the Ministry of Health, so all the requirements and designs were approved by the Ministry.
“So, with close supervision, we should be able to have best standard of this project which will be modern and will suit the money that has been put in place,” Kalilombe said.
He has since encouraged the general public to report on what is happening during the construction to the councillors, council or even National Construction Industry, and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
According to Kalilombe, the cost of the project dubbed Umoyo House is worth K21, 947, 350.50 and the funds have been derived from the District Development Fund (DDF). The contractor is Horizon Building and Civil Engineering Contractors.
Currently, Mwenilondo Health Centre serves about 10, 000 people and currently there is only one staff house and a clinician.