Tension is mounting in the northern Malawi district of Nkhata Bay where some transporters have threatened to frustrate a malaria control programme in which the district council allegedly sidelined them in the tendering process.
The transporters have since engaged the Nkhata Bay District Council, but have threatened to block vehicles to the hospital if a planned meeting ends without finding a win-win solution.
Said one of the transporters on Monday, Weles Mhone: “We are indeed meeting the council on Tuesday to continue with our grievances. But if we don’t agree, we will block vehicles going to the hospital to collect the pesticides.”
He accused the council of bias by allegedly ignoring transporters from the district to ferry the pesticides and favour those from other districts.
Nkhata Bay district commissioner Fred Movete confirmed the misunderstanding.
He said the project was supposed to take place in the 2011/12 financial year, but failed. He said most of the contractors considered were those that won a tender then.
Movete also said during the 2009/10 exercise, the council engaged local transporters, but their vehicles were small, hence not efficient for the exercise. He could not say whether the situation remains the same today.
Mhone claimed the local transporters now have big vehicles.
Movete confirmed Tuesday’s meeting and said delegates will include officials from the Malaria Control Programme.
Of the 18 transporters that have been considered, only two are from Nkhata Bay.