Residents around Be Forward Wanderers Stadium site at Soche in Blantyre have complained of the facility’s drainage system, saying it is causing floods that are damaging their properties.
During their meeting with the Chinese contractors Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company (Afecc) yesterday, the residents threatened to stop the project which started a few months ago if the problem is not immediately solved.
One of the affected residents Alban Malamula said they fear damage could occur to their properties since brick walls of at least four houses and livestock have so far been destroyed by the flooding this rainy season.
He said: “Before the stadium construction started, we never experienced these problems. The site was covered with vegetation but now the land is almost bare and all the water is overflowing to our homes.
“Just two days ago, my brick fence fell down due to water pressure and my livestock [30 chickens and two dogs] were washed away.”
Another resident Jones Kampala said the contractors should have considered the safety of the people and properties first before embarking on the project.
“How could the contractor or engineer overlook the potential danger to the residents by not constructing a proper drainage system for the facility? If they do not immediately solve this problem, we have agreed in this neighbourhood to stop the works at the project,” he said.
But Afecc spokesperson VenShieh has said the problem was not their fault as they were just following government’s plan on the project.
In an interview yesterday, he said they want the issue to be resolved peacefully.
Said Ven: “It is a pity that the residents are blaming us for the floods.We are just following Malawi government’s directives on what shape the facility should take. When we try to explain to them, they do not listen and they seem to have a personal hatred considering that we are foreigners.”
Another Afecc representative Derrick Xu and the facility’s clerk of works Richard Mabvutula promised to take the residents’ concerns to the government.
On his part, Ministry of Youth and Sports spokesperson Simon Mbvundula referred the matter to the Ministry of Works, saying “this is a technical issue that can be explained better by that ministry”.
The project’s chief architect in the Ministry of Works Christopher Lindeire said he was not obliged to comment on the matter but explained that an environmental impact assessment was done around the stadium.
The stadia, for privately-owned rival football clubs Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets, are being constructed with funding from the 2019/20 budget but the projects were not allocated funding in the current 2020/21 National Budget.
The construction of the facilities was launched in June 2020 by former president Peter Mutharika and is expected to be completed in two years at a cost of K6 billion.