Voters in Karonga Central on Tuesday used a debate in the constituency as a golden opportunity to discuss problems that are hampering the growth of the district which is endowed with natural resources.
The debate was held at Chiwondo Teachers Development Centre (TDC) in Karonga Central constituency where four out of the five candidates vying for the seat turned up to unpack their manifestos to potential voters.
Posing a question to the aspirants, Lister Tembo wanted to know what they would do to avert hunger that looms almost every year despite the district having the fresh water from Lake Malawi just a stone’s throw away from the villagers.
“As a woman I am always troubled and affected when there is no food at home. And I am afraid that with the erratic rains that we have experienced this year, we will not harvest enough maize. Automatically, hunger is looming.
“What will you do once we vote you into Parliament to make sure that we do not starve amidst plenty of water?” Tembo asked.
Answering the question, People’s Party shadow Parliamentarian retired Brigadier Smith Ngwira said since the district’s water table is high, it will be easy to use solar motorized pumps to irrigate maize.
While Ngwira settled for solar powered pumps, former AFORD Parliamentarian for the area Frank Mwenifumbo challenged that he had already established a diesel pump at Mwambelo to check hunger in the area.
“To me it is not a matter of doing what, it is a matter of continuing from where I have stopped because I have already installed pumps in some areas in the constituency to make sure that people should not starve,” Mwenifumbo said.
The UTM party shadow candidate Florence Nthakomwa told the gathering that as a woman, she knows what it means to have no food at home and appreciates what women are subjected to in search of food.
“I will closely work with people on the ground as your servant to see how best we can propagate irrigation farming in our constituency to make sure that we produce enough produce for consumption and sale,” Nthakomwa said.
Karonga district civic education officer for NICE Christobel Munthali hailed the active participation that the audience displayed, saying that shows how starved the electorates are in terms of interacting with their candidates.
“These debates are crucial because apart from candidates selling their development agendas, the community also raised pertinent issues worth accommodating in their manifestos. That I think is a mile stone to us and we are achieving the objectives of these debates,” Munthali said.
NICE Trust is conducting political debates in Karonga district in partnership with Foundation for community services (FOCUS) and JP of Karonga diocese.