Parliament Probes Abandoned MUST Properties

MUST MUST - file photo

Parliamentary Committee on Education says it is investigating why contractor abandoned the construction of 300 staff houses, students’ hostels, lecturer theatres and laboratory at Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo some seven years ago.

Brainax Kaise, Chairperson of the committee told Zodiak on Friday that they have been called to duty after noting a myriad of challenges MUST students and staff are facing due to the abandoned structures.

"The Committee is aware of the problems and the strengths that MUST have. What we are doing now is to lobby government and other development partners to construct staff houses and students’ hostels. As you might be aware that there are no enough hostels.

"When they were constructing, they were intending to construct 300 houses. But as you might be aware, contractor abandoned the contractor houses. So, we want to find out what transpired for the contractor to abandon or not to finish the whole set of the houses or the project," Kaise said.

Zodiak understands that the full completion of MUST was supposed to include over 300 staff houses, students’ hostels, lecturer theatres and high-tech laboratory.

However, it has transpired that out of 300 staff houses, about six were constructed.

Speaking recently when the committee visited the institution, MUST Vice Chancellor Professor Address Malata, said currently the university staff are commuting daily between Thyolo to Limbe and Blantyre, while some students are being housed in the improvised office building the contractor left.

Professor Malata said to counter the challenge, the university made a costly arrangement of ferrying most of the staff on a daily basis, but those with personal cars use their own resources on fuel and other needs.

Meanwhile, social accountability expert Willy Kambwandira has challenged parliamentarians to rise to the occasion by monitoring loan projects they approve to benefit Malawians.

"There seems to be no transparency especially when it comes to the implementation of the projects that are being coordinated by the central government in the districts. People do not have information as to what is supposed to be constructed; how much, who is doing that.

“That becomes a problem for them to monitor the project and as well as holding duty bearers to account.

"Now, with the issue at hand, what we see is that some extent, parliament again is failing to do its job adequately. We understand this is a loan, and our expectation is that once the parliament approves a loan, it should be in a position to monitor how projects under that loan are being implemented,"Kambwandira said.

The Malawi's specialist science and technology university (MUST) was the brainchild of former President late Bingu wa Mutharika constructed with US$70 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of China.

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