UTM candidate for Mangochi West Constituency in the forthcoming by-elections, Stanley Phiri, on Friday took advantage of the debate organized by National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Public Trust to tell voters that he will construct schools and find markets for fish if he is elected.
Nice organized the debate to give candidates space or platform to articulate issues they will do to the voters once voted into power.
Out of the six candidates contesting in the area, only three candidates availed for the debate and they were: Stanley Phiri (UTM), Gomani Banda (Independent) and Semion Harrison (Independent).
During the debate, UTM’s Phiri mentioned the issue of education, local fishers’ market opportunities, introduction of social welfare fund, among others that will turn around the constituency’s misfortunes.
“My contesting here is to face-lift the area. I want to construct more primary and secondary schools to ensure that our girls are going to school without distance barrier. This will address school dropout and arrest early pregnancies as well as child marriages,” he disclosed.
Phiri said the area, due to the availability of the lake, has also potential to be the country’s fish breadbasket if fishers are well utilized and prompted.
“Once voted into power, I will rush to find markets for local fishers, ensure observance of fish closing seasons, among others,” he said while also promising to bring piped water to the community, protect forests, and empower people with disabilities with loans, among other transformative initiatives.
Speaking after the debate, Nice regional civic education officer (Centre) Enock Chinkhuntha said he was satisfied with the debate because it accorded voters an opportunity to “date their candidates”, assess or scrutinize them, saying this will help them to choose for the best candidate.
Nice organized the debate in collaboration with National Democratic Institute (NDI) with funding from European Union (EU.
The other three candidates who shunned the debate were: Geoffrey Chiondo (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP), Joyce Chikumba (Independent), Reuben Kanyama (Independent).