Lilongwe mayor has come under criticism for appointing foreigners to an advisory board.
The Mayor, Desmond Bikoko, on Monday appointed a seven member advisory board that include appointed Zhuo Shui from China, Tony Karim – Indian, Mylord Jere – Malawian, Mwosu Ken – Nigerian, Vincent Mugase – Rwandese, Emmanuel Munyeragwe – Burundian and Vincent Ndamage – Rwandese.
But the move has not pleased some Malawians. Social commentator Onjezani Kenani questioned the low representation of Malawians in the board.
“This Desmond Bikoko you chose is entirely clueless. The latest stunt he has pulled is: he has chosen a committee of residents of Lilongwe ostensibly to ‘promote the participation of the public in the city’s development plans’ (that, in itself, is questionable: isn’t that why we elect Councillors in the first place?).
“The committee has seven people, but of these, only one is Malawian. There is a Chinese, there is a Burundian and so on. Last time I checked, Lilongwe has 1 million people, of whom 99.5 per cent are Malawians who, as we speak, are represented by one person, while the 0.5 per cent are represented by six,” said Kenani in a Facebook post.
However, responding to the criticism, Bikoko said Lilongwe has a large population of foreigners who are crucial to the economy hence the move will allow them to fully integrate and support local and national projects.
“The ambassadors have all committed to financially support Lilongwe City with in a number of upcoming initiatives. The Chinese have committed to construct a dual carriage road from Crossroads Hotel all the way to Kanengo at no cost to Malawi Government or Lilongwe City Council and their Chairperson is one of the recently appointed community ambassadors,” said Bikoko.
He added that he is open to new ideas and new approaches of reaching out to foreigners within the city.
He also lashed out at his critics for just condemning the move without offering alternatives saying such criticism derails meaningful developments in Lilongwe and Malawi.