Chilumba rural hospital dominates last debate in KA

Three out of five Parliamentary candidates turned up to market their manifestos at the last debate held at Hangalawe Teachers Development Centre (TDC) on Wednesday in Karonga south constituency with Chilumba rural hospital’s problems topping the agenda.

Asked what they would do once elected to revamp the health system delivery at one of the oldest hospitals in Karonga, independent candidate Sangwani Nyirenda said the misappropriation of public funds by elected leaders is the root cause of the downfall of health system in the district.

Shadow candidates facing off the audience-Picture by Jordan Simeon-Phiri

She added that once elected she will uphold transparency and accountability to make sure that community members are empowered to own developments.

“I am equally concerned that the hospital that was built in 1932 is facing challenges such as closure of male ward thereby forcing both male and female patients to be in one ward. Once elected I will make sure that the hospital in question is well equipped with enough facilities, medical supplies, equipment and drugs.

Not only that, I will make sure that I improve areas such as education, irrigation farming, road network and above all, I will empower both the youths and women economically so that they become self-reliant since these groups of people are in large numbers, Nyirenda said.

While agreeing with the point, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) shadow candidate Uchizi Mkandawire put much emphasis on expanding the current hospitals infrastructure which he said is an eyesore, saying the structure has outlived its life span.

Asked what he would do to make sure that there is no feud between Ward Councillors and his office in terms of development funds administration, Mkandawire said management of development funded projects lies solely in the hands of a Ward Councillor and area development committee (ADC) members while the Parliamentarian concentrates on making laws in the National Assembly.

“I believe in separation of powers. Therefore, I will know my boundaries when it comes to the affairs of development funds. For the smooth implementation of projects, then team work is the answer, Mkandawire said.

Karonga district NICE Trust civic education officer Christobel Munthali said the final debate was the most interesting one as it drew 40 percent of female candidates and the largest crowd of politically hot and active participants.

This, according to Munthali, is a sign that voters were eager to interact and engage their candidates on a number of issues affecting the socio economic development of their area.

The active participation of traditional leaders and their political neutrality during the debate cannot go unnoticed. The brevity and determination of the shadow candidates was also a marvel to watch. As NICE we are happy that we have done our part, now it is their turn to fight the battle on the ground, Munthali said.

Conspicuously missing was the DPPs Reverend Malani Mtonga and the PPs Duncan Kaonga.

DPP candidates have not participated in any political debate in all the 5 constituencies of the district.

NICE Trust, FOCUS and JP of Karonga diocese organized the political debates in the district so that candidates could meet face to face with electorates ahead of the May 21 tripartite elections.