With just about five weeks before Malawi hosts the African Union (AU) Summit in July, pressure has mounted to complete works on 14 presidential villas in Lilongwe which are expected to accommodate some of the visiting heads of State.
A visit to the site on Friday revealed that SUR Landscapers Company, which government contracted in March this year, is under pressure to complete landscaping works at the site by end of June although most of the parts at the site are still incomplete.
SUR Landscapers supervisor Edward Pillow attributed the delay to water problems at the site, saying they are struggling to source water to irrigate the land.
â€œThere are about four taps where we are sourcing water from on this site. However, this place is too big and the taps are not enough. This is giving us a challenge,â€ said Pillow who said they started the work in March.
He said the company was engaged to till the site and create lawns for flowers and grass which, he said, required about one year to be firm on the ground.
Asked whether his company would complete all landscaping work and generate the required vegetation befitting presidential villas by end of June, he said: â€œWe are hopeful that we will complete the work by end of next month [June] but itâ€™s not easy because of the water problems.â€
The companyâ€™s clerk Oliver Chimimba admitted the company is under pressure to complete the work for the summit, but said they have hired over 100 labourers to do the job.
Minister of Tourism and Culture Daniel Liwimbi on Thursday said government expects all works at the presidential villas to be completed by June 20 in readiness for the summit.
â€œAll outside works will be through by mid June. We are also doing the fencing,â€ said Liwimbi.
He said they are expecting about 35 out of 51 heads of State to attend the summit going by the attendance of heads of government at previous AU summits.
About 4 000 delegates are expected to attend the summit, according to government.
Liwimbi said they have so far found accommodation for about three quarters of the delegates, adding that more house owners are approaching government to offer their houses to accommodate the delegates.