Newton Sibanda
August 16, 2012

FOUR prisons in Eastern Province have had no water for weeks after being disconnected by the Eastern Water and Sewerage Company (EWSC) for failing to settle K639 million (US$1=K5000) outstanding water bills.

The development exposed over 1,000 inmates to poor sanitation and possible outbreak of diseases.

EWSC public relations officer Kashoki Nsofwa says the affected prisons are Namuseche in Chipata, Nyimba, Petauke and Lundazi prisons.

Diseases are rife in Africa’s overcrowded prisons characterized by poor sanitation and hygiene

Mr Nsofwa said the water utility company disconnected water to the prisons because of the K639 million debt which has been outstanding since 2009.

“I want to confirm that we have disconnected water to four prisons, namely Namuseche, Nyimba, Petauke and Lundazi state prisons,” he said.

Mr Nsofwa said currently, Numuseche Prison in the provincial capital Chipata is fetching water from a nearby clinic which also has outstanding bills which should be settled not later than this week.

Eastern Province prisons deputy commanding officer Namataa Mayumbelo declined to comment on reports of water disconnections to four prisons.

Recently, EWSC said the four prisons, Chipata General Hospital and Chipata Municipal Council owe it about K3.5 billion in unpaid water bills.

EWSC managing director Wamuwi Changani urged the institutions to settle their bills, failure to which water supply would be disconnected.

And Eastern Province Minister Charles Banda said Government is aware that EWSC is owed about K3.5 billion in outstanding water bills by various government departments.

The minister said Government is committed to settling all outstanding bills it owes EWSC.
“I therefore direct all government departments with outstanding water bills to liquidate them or face disconnection by the water supply company,” Mr Banda said.

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