The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has penned the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) to take practical measures to prevent human rights violations which may occur due to the poor state of Kawale-Mchesi Bridge.
The development comes barely three months after six people were reportedly killed by floods at the bridge.
The letter, dated March 14 2013 and signed by executive secretary Davie Nungu, is bringing attention to LCC on the poor condition of the bridge believed to have been constructed 17 years ago.
The letter reads in part: “It would appear that the Lilongwe City Council does not realise that the bridge in its current state is a risk to life and people’s property.”
The Commission believes that people’s right to a safe and peaceful environment are threatened; hence, the need for it to hold government accountable on the issue.
When The Nation visited the bridge yesterday, it appeared to be in very bad shape due to heavy rains and recent floods that hit the area.
When contacted on the matter, LCC chief executive officer Moza Zeleza asked for more time, but he did not pick up subsequent calls.
In an interview with The Nation, Kawale 1 block leader Costa Aliseni called on government to intervene swiftly on the matter since the bridge is becoming narrower while the stream is widening due to floods.
He said: “This stream was small two years ago, but now it has grown big because of floods which are happening as a result of people constructing houses and mining sand along the stream.
“We will be in problems in future if this can be left as it is because there will be no bridge in the next two years.”
Although chiefs are the ones allocating land to people, Aliseni blamed those who are constructing houses along the stream for contributing to flooding.
Thousands of people along the stream were rendered homeless following heavy rains that destroyed their houses and other property last December.
Vice President Saulos Chilima has been urging people not to construct houses near rivers saying some of the floods occur because the river’s flow is disturbed.