The Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre on Friday reserved its ruling in the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project case in which YAS and CHRR want to join or substitute the Malawi Law Society (MLS) as applicants.
The application follows the October ruling in which Supreme Court Judge Lovemore Chikopa dismissed an application by MLS to review a decision by Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) to award Khato Civils Limited the contract for the water project before an environmental assessment was conducted.
In an earlier application to the Supreme Court, Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka, through their lawyer Bright Theu, argue that after Chikopa’s decision, MLS had not taken any step further to prosecute the matter.
In an interview after the hearing on Friday, one of the defence lawyers, Chancy Gondwe, said they filed their documents opposing the application by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and YAS to join or substitute MLS as applicants on the matter, saying the two civil society organisations (CSOs) have insufficient interest in the matter.
“They were supposed to join the proceedings within three months, and these proceedings started long time ago. We are asking the court that they should not join or substitute MLS on the matter,” Gondwe said.
He insisted that there was no good explanation on the part of both YAS and CHRR on why they delayed to make an application; hence their stand that the court should dismiss them.
Theu refused to talk to the media, saying CHRR and YAS are better placed to comment on the matter. He said he was yet to submit his report on Friday’s proceedings to his clients.
Effort to speak to Kajoloweka proved futile as his phone was out of reach.
In May this year Khato Holdings Limited unveiled to the media machinery for the construction of the water pipeline from Lake Malawi in Salima to Lilongwe to ease water problems in the capital city. The company disclosed that it had already invested $13 million (about K9.4 billion) towards the project. n