Irate employees of the Blantyre Water Board (BWB) on Tuesday blocked the entrance to the board’s head office, demanding the removal of chief executive Andrew Thawe.
During a visit to BWB head office Tuesday morning, The Nation found the staff gathered at the board’s car park chanting “Achoke! Achoke!” (He must go) while waiting for feedback on their concerns from their colleagues who were in a meeting with management.
Water Employees Trade Union of Malawi president James Monjeza said the employees are not happy with Thawe’s presence; hence, the demonstrations. He said the demonstrations were also conducted to push government to act on the petition they presented on August 21.
He said the employees, through the union, are pleading with government to relocate Thawe, stressing that they have had enough of him.
When contacted on his mobile phone later, Thawe refused to comment on the matter.
He said he was waiting for official communication from BWB management and the union.
However, Thawe said: “The issue should not be discussed in the paper”.
In a related development, some members of the BWB management on August 29 2014 obtained a court injunction stopping the board’s employees from commenting or having anything related to the impasse published.
However, the employees vowed not to allow Thawe, who was in his office during the fracas but left at around midday, to enter in the premises on return from lunch break.
Thawe did not return to his office after lunch, according to one of the striking employees.
This is the second sit-in by BWB staff in less than two weeks. On August 19, the employees also downed their tools to push management to increase their salaries and their request was granted.