Lack of police unit and health centre were the main issues during the Makhuwira South Ward councillor dabate organised by the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Public Trust over the weekend.
The debate was held ahead of the November 10 polls for candidates to outline their development plans once elected as ward councillor for the area.
During the debate, it was learnt that the area covering Masenjere to Thabwa has not had a police unit for the past three years after angry villagers torched down the Livunzu police unit when they demanded to kill a murder suspect.
The absence of a health centre in the area also remains a challenge.
UTM candidate Francesca Nyanguru said she will take the issue of a police unit and the health facility as her priority developments.
“Issues of security or health is critical and its advantages to the communities cannot be overemphasized. Hence, I promise to ensure availability of the police unit and a health centre in collaboration with our Member of Parliament (MP),” she said.
On her part, MCP’s Lenita Austin pledged to use the party’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, to ensure availability of a police unit, health centre and improve agriculture to spur farmers lives.
On his part, DPP candidate, Henry Tambu said he will continue to escalate development his party has been doing previously through the availability of the cited structures.
The same was echoed by UDF candidate, Isaac Hodges and independent candidate, Mary Medison, who also promised to use their position in bringing the police unit and the health centre in the area.
However, in an interview after the debate at Mitondo Primary School, Group Village Head (GVH), Savala implored on the candidate who shall be declared a winner in the by-election to ensure that they fulfill the promises being made, saying the past leaders for the area betrayed them by not honouring what they pledged.
He particularly singled out the absence of a health centre and a police unit as some of the outstanding campaign promises previous leaders failed to keep.
“Our only hope is that the up-coming ward councillor shall make sure that we have a police unit and a health centre in this area,” stressed the chief.
“At the moment it’s difficult for the people in the area to access police services which can be found at Chikwawa boma, a distance of 30 kilometres from hear. The area also does not have a health facility,” he pointed out.
On his part, Chikwawa NICE civic education officer, Josephy Chamambala said he was impressed with the way the Makhuwira South ward aspirants articulated their development plans.
He, however, asked the aspirants to have an interest in understanding principles of decentralisation for them to know their roles better once elected.
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioner, Steven Duwa, who graced the event, expressed satisfaction with the turnout of people during the debate, saying it is an indication that people in the area will come out in large numbers to cast their vote during the polling day.
He, however, expressed dismay after noting that it is only NICE which is carrying out awareness campaigns for the by-elections despite the electoral body accrediting several organisations to carry out awareness campaigns
Makhuwira South Ward became vacant following the demise of the ward councillor for the area, Manick Ganet who was accidentally shot by police officers when wrangles erupted following grievances surrounding compensation after they were relocated to pave way for the construction of Thabwa Fatima Livunzu East-Bank Road.
Additional reporting By Ayamba Kandodo