Former vice-president Khumbo Kachali’s pledged multi-million kwacha Mzuzu Prison hostel project has stalled for about a year, a development that has left prison officials confused.
On July 22 2012, former president Joyce Banda asked Kachali and People’s Party (PP) vice-president (North) Harry Mkandawire to help ease congestion at Mzuzu Prison by constructing a hostel. At that time, there were 467 prisoners in a structure built to accommodate 250.
Mkandawire said he and Kachali would meet the cost of building the hostel pegged at over K30 million. He also said construction would begin in a week’s time and that the structure would be in use by 2013.
When The Nation followed up on the project, the structure was at roofing stage on Monday this week with timber trusses fixed.
Northern Region Prison spokesperson Austin Mwasangwale said almost a year has elapsed since the trusses were fixed and there has been no activity at the site.
He said officials have not been briefed on the delays despite that prisoners provided labour at the site.
He added that only Kachali was actively involved in the project.
When asked to explain the stalling of the project, Kachali on Tuesday said the project was heavily affected by matters to do with prison.
He said the structure should be completed by February 28 2015 and the handover ceremony will coincide with his wife’s birthday on that date.
On his part, Mkandawire said Kachali was responsible for the project.