By Synd Kalimbuka
Communities at Chingale area in Zomba have accused government through Zomba District Council of sidelining the area in terms of development activities and they have demanded the government to declare the area a sub-district.
A group of concerned community members which is comprised of chiefs, development committee members and ward councillors has expressed concern that government has been not showing any interest to fully develop the area.
The community duty bearers are therefore demanding government to consider declaring the area as a sub-district saying it’s only the way of bringing development to the people.
For example, concerned members said unwillingness of government to have the area developed through construction of much awaited Machinga-Chingale- Lirangwe road is a sign that the government doesn’t care about people of this area.
They added that previous governments only made promises to have this road constructed as a tool to win their votes during election campaigns.
Sub-Traditional Authority Nkapita of the area, Group Village Head Mwangata, Chibwana, Mikundi and Area Development committee chairperson Redson Sumani all confirmed that they are demanding for a sub-district in order to benefit from development projects which are implemented in other districts and areas.
In additional, STA Nkapita said poor road from Chinseu trading centre to Zomba city via Nankhunda, lack of Community hospital and Machinga-Chingale-Lirangwe road affect lives of people in the area.
GVH Mwangata added that for the past 15 years, no single organisation has operated in his jurisdiction saying government don’t consider the area as being in Malawi.
Lack of boarding secondary school and shortage of teachers in both primary and secondary schools also remain a big challenge in the area compared to what is happening in other areas and districts.
Concerned members said the area only benefits on development activities implemented under Constituency Development Fund (CDF). They justified that the only solution to have their problems sorted is through establishment of a sub district.
Local duty bearers have since emphasized on the need to take the issue to their Members of Parliament for Zomba Lisanjala Dr Susuwele Banda and Zomba Chingale Loney Chijere Phiri.
District Commissioner for Zomba Smart Gwedemula has since advised them to engage duty bearers such as ADC, MPs and Ward councillors who will bring the issue to the council.
“Concerned members should have approached duty bearers in the area or come straight to my office to present their concerns,” said Gwedemula.
However, Gwedemula said demanding for a sub district is not solution to under-development.
He then promised to engage his officers to list down projects implemented in the area for the past 5 years so that the council should assist them accordingly.
Spokesperson for Ministry of Local government and rural development Muhulabase Mughogho said development issues should be presented to the council through Area Development committee for such consideration.
Mughogho said if there is no feedback once the issue is presented to the council, further steps should be taken by the concerned members.
“We are in the decentralised dispensation where they have to present their challenges to the council before the ministry is engaged,” she added.
Some Civil Society Organisations including CCJP have been lobbying for construction of Machinga-Chingale-Lirangwe road saying it will transform the area.
President Lazarus Chakwera and his Vice Saulos Chilima during a political rally ahead of the Fresh Presidential election at Namadidi Airwing ground in the district promised to construct the much awaited Machinga-Chingale-Lirangwe road and Chinseu-Zomba Nankhunda road.
Chingale area which covers two constituencies of Chingale and Lisanjala is under STA Nkapita jurisdiction and part of TA Mlumbe.
According to 2017/2022 District Development Plan for Zomba, the area had a population of over 77, 000 people at the time the document was being written compiled.