By Synd Kalimbuka
Zomba residents have proposed the establishment of Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) to reclaim the lost glory of the city.
Concerned residents say both Zomba city and district are not developing to the desired level.
Member of Parliament for Zomba Changalume John Chikalimba who is championing the establishment of the programme told district council members about the proposed program during full council meeting in the district.
Chikalimba said the proposal to come up with the programme has come after observing that for so many years Zomba city has been sidelined by government in terms of development.
He expressed optimism that Tonse Alliance government will consider the proposal saying the Minister of Local government was also interested to see the implementation taking place.
“Out of four cities we have in Malawi, Zomba which was the first capital city during colonial government remains underdeveloped”, said Chikalimba.
He added that it is currently giving him pain as most of the institutions which had their headquarters in Zomba have moved to Lilongwe, a situation which he said has affected Zomba.
Chikalimba mentioned the statuses of infrastructure and roads in the district saying they are not pleasing anymore and people have no hope that the city will reach to where Mzuzu has reached.
“On top of lack of good roads, let me emphasize on the need to improve in our buildings in Zomba. Even Domasi district hospital which is under construction is not pleasing me because such structure could have been constructed way back in 1994 not now,” he added.
He urged fellow MPs, district and city councils, academicians and residents to join efforts and lobby for the program to reclaim the lost glory of Zomba as a city.
Council members who attended the meeting concurred with Chikalimba saying once this programme is implemented in collaboration with all stakeholders including consultants, Zomba will not be the same.
Chikalimba has since submitted a document for the project to the district commissioner for Zomba Dr. Smart Gwedemula and Chief executive officer for Zomba city council Charles Thombozi to consider the proposal.
People in the district have been accusing Zomba city council authorities of contributing factor towards underdevelopment saying the council lack proper plan of the city.
During the full council meeting, members approved several multimillion projects including a USAID G2G project aimed to improve self-reliance of district, Local Authority Performance Assessment (LAPA) and Performance-Based Grant (PBG) and Shire River Basin Management Projects.
Malawi’s capital city was transferred from Zomba to Lilongwe in 1975 by the first president of Malawi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.