Ombudsman Martha Chizuma has taken to task Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) for the humiliation she allegedly personally suffered as the board’s customer at LWB Area 18 offices.
In her strongly-worded five-paged letter addressed to LWB chief executive officer Engineer Alfonso Chikuni, which The Nation has seen, the Ombudsman bemoaned what she described as poor service on July 28 2018 after she had visited the offices to launch a complaint on her prepaid billing water meter.
Reads Chizuma’s letter: “Considering that it was a Saturday and there was not much he [an LWB officer] could do, he advised me to just buy some more units… I proceeded to one of the two ladies to buy units but they told me they had closed at 11:30am. By this time it was around 11:42am. She rudely told me that they could not let me buy units.”
She said she was advised to go and buy the water credit in Area 2 which she refused.
Chizuma said other customers were also being refused to buy water credit despite being within the offices before the official closing time.
The Ombudsman has since directed LWB to partner other stakeholders to increase access points for pre-paid water credit, including opening selling points in service stations to ease customers’ convenience.
In a telephone interview, Chikuni confirmed receipt of the complaint from the Ombudsman in her personal capacity and that the issue has been discussed with her.
He said the cashiers, who ill-treated Chizuma and other customers, are employees of a commercial bank that collects revenue on behalf of LWB and that the board has since taken up the issue with their employer.
On increasing access points, Chikuni said: “We are making necessary arrangements to improve the situation for our targeted customers using prepaid meters. You may wish to know the service is currently targeting government institutions and commercial entities. But on that issue, we are handling it.”
He said the Ombudsman’s demand for the access points to be increased was within LWB’s plans.