Water users in Chirimba Township have questioned the conduct of some water sellers who have been charging them more than set water prices.
Set water prices for all kiosks in Blantyre peri-urban areas are uniform with a 20 litre pale selling at K15 and a 40-litre pale at K30.
However, some water sellers especially in village headman Suya have been charging consumers K50 per a 40-litre pale raising questions on how the water user association in the area is handling its employees.
Speaking during an interface meeting the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) held with Michiru Water Users Association (WUA) officials and communities at Chirimba Primary School consumers queried why they were paying more on what is regarded as affordable product.
“Apart from being on kiosks on time, the water sellers are charging us K50 for a pale that is sold at K30. This is something we have been complaining all along and we need urgent response from the WUA officials,” said Katie Chiphwanya.
Aside from over-charging consumers, it was noted during the meeting that some waters were also rude to consumers apart from absconding work anyhow.
In response, WUA Board Chairperson Isaac Chayaluka pledged to act on the raised concerns.
In a related interface meeting held in Bangwe consumers under Bangwe-Mpingwe Water Users Association (WUA) took Blantyre Water Board (BWB) to task for failing to improve water service delivery in the area.
WUA officials expressed their discontent with BWB during an interface meeting held at Bangwe Catholic Primary School.
Consumers, traditional leaders and councilors took turns to fault BWB for failing to supply water to kiosks for some years now, arguing people are being forcing to drink water from rivers and streams which is not safe.
The meeting then agreed to give BWB an ultimatum and that traditional leaders together with councilors should meet top BWB management to express their grievances.
However, BWB officials were not present at the meeting.
Consumers Association of Malawi Projects Officer, Maurice Nkawihe said it was the desire of CAMA to see consumers rising up to demand for their rights.
‘It is in our interest to see that consumers are able to stand and demand for better services. It is their right and we hope through such interface meetings service providers and consumers will be able to discuss on how to solve their differences and challenges affecting service delivery,” said Nkawihe.
CAMA in partnership with Water For People (WFP) which secured local funding from Tilitonse Fund has been implementing an Institutional Strengthening Project for Water Users Associations (WUA) In Peri-Urban Areas of Blantyre City.
The project aims at strengthening the existing network of Water Users Associations (WUAs) through deliberate coalition building to enhance accountability and transparency in their service delivery and free the WUA’s from political interference.