Political Interference and Lack of Coordination Affecting Wash In Rumphi

Water and sanitation experts from the Northern Region have deplored political interference and a lack of coordination amongst stakeholders as some of the major setbacks affecting Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) service delivery at council level.

This came out at a joint sector review meeting for the Northern Region that sought to get a full overview of the WASH sector at regional level ahead of a national review exercise which will take place soon.

Northern Region Water Development Officer Ganizani Matiki told Zodiak Online that a number of civil society organizations (CSOs) working in the water sector at district level do so in isolation.

“One would expect that where a number of CSOs and NGOs are coming in with WASH interventions, it would help in achieving the sector’s core mandates in service delivery. But lack of coordination between the NGOs and government officials is leading to a lot of in-efficiencies, duplication of work and poor targeting,” said Matiki.

He added that most politicians, mainly members of parliament, control water infrastructure funds where they bulldoze their own projects and end up with projects that lack expert advice.

“Political interference is another major challenge where some politicians tend to control the water infrastructure fund by implementing water projects of their choice, that usually lack expert advice and also against the council plans. As government officials we are left without any say,” he added

During the regional sector review meeting the WASH experts also noticed that the region has a high vacancy rate of water technicians which is depriving rural communities access to potable water as most of the infrastructure is malfunctional.

Rumphi District Water Development Officer Vincent Kholowaya says, for instance in the areas of some traditional authorities (T/As), some water infrastructure remains without repair because of lack of technicians.

“Rumphi as a district has eleven Tas, but as per government standard each, T/A is supposed to have a water monitoring assistant but the recruitment process is very slow, such that we still have gaps to have all the areas covered,” said Kholowaya.

The joint water sector review meetings were supported by the Water and Environmental Sanitation Network. World Vision acts as an accountability platform where various district councils report on the progress they make as well as account for how funds have been utilized in the sector and the impact incurred.

The regional sector review forums occur ahead of a national sector review conference through which WASH players that include government, donors, CSOs, non-governmental organizations, academia and all other stakeholders converge to reflect on the progress registered within a year in the sector based on set indicators.

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