The Millennium Challenge Account Malawi (MCA-M) has cautioned foreign contractors in its projects against abusing Malawians.
MCA-M, with funding from the United States of America (USA) government agency Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), has engaged a Chinese firm Chint Electric International for the construction of the 132 kilovolts (kV) power substation valued at $15 million (about K10.7 billion) and an Indian company Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd to construct the 132kV overhead power line at Bwengu in Mzimba.
The US Government gave Malawi a $350.7 million (about K250.8 billion) grant which focuses on investments in the energy sector that will increase availability, reliability and quality of power; increase the availability of quality power to un-served users, and improve management and service delivery in the energy sector.
Speaking on Friday at Bwengu where MCA-M introduced the two contractors to communitiies, MCA-M chief executive officer Dye Mawindo urged the contractors to respect Malawians at all cost and utilise grievance committees to amicably resolve differences.
He warned them against using abusive language and any form of ill-treatment.
Mawindo said the fact that Malawians are poor does not mean they should be abused by rich-foreign contractors.
“They have to treat Malawians with dignity. They have their own culture and we have our own our culture.culture. They should respect
“They should talk to Malawians in a polite way, not using abusive words,” said Mawindo.
Asked if he noted anything in the contractors to issue such a warning, Mawindo said the warning was a precautionary measure. He said there have been cases before where Malawians have been subjected to abuse and he wanted to ensure that such malpractices do not take place.
MCA communications and outreach director Zilani Khonje said respecting Malawians will minimise conflicts and prevent disruptions in construction activities which will in turn speed up works.
Chint International social justice manager Rodgers Newa said the company will follow labour laws to ensure that there is no exploitation of Malawians.
“It is true, they have their own culture and we have our own culture. If they are coming to work here, they need to assimilate. When in Rome do what the Romans do,” said Newa.
Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd community relations, social and gender manager Cyrus Jeke said he will ensure that the company respects locals as that will promote cooperation and smooth construction activities.
“We will rely on Malawians to carry out some of the works and any conflicts will have negative effects on the project, which we don’t want to happen,” said Jeke.