Unfounded myth leads to Machinga villagers to vandalise K55m-worth solar powered irrigation scheme


By Chimwemwe Mphande, MANA

Police in Machinga have arrested 19 people for allegedly vandalising and stealing property worth K55 million at Ulongwe Solar Powered Irrigation Scheme last month in believing the system was causing children to unexpectedly faint.

Angered with this misguided myth, the villagers from the Traditional Authority Nyambi in the district stormed the facility where they destroyed it and stole property from the K55 million-worth newly-constructed irrigation scheme.


In an interview with MANA, Machinga Police deputy public relations officer, Sergeant Ngwashape Msume said the suspects were arrested on April 14, after following up on the incident that happened on March 23 at Ulongwe Irrigation Scheme.

She said the suspects stole solar installations, two water pumps, solar panels, two batteries, two charging systems, four wheelbarrows, galvanised pipes and other assorted items.


“The Police recovered some of the items during the arrest, which included water pump, solar panel, wheelbarrow, four shovels and galvanised pipes,” Msume said.


The arrested suspects will appear before court soon to answer the charges of malicious damage and theft, according to Msume.

Meanwhile, police have launched a manhunt for other suspects who are currently at large.