By Synd Kalimbuka
Members of Parliament from Machinga, Zomba and Blantyre in collaboration with concerned communities from the three districts have formed a taskforce aimed at pushing government to construct Machinga-Chingale-Lirangwe road, which Malawian presidents have been promising to construct since 2004.
MPs concerned are Bright Msaka for Machinga Likwenu, Dr William Susuwele Banda for Zomba Lisanjala, Lonney Chijere Phiri for Zomba Lisanjala and Francis Phiso for Blantyre North who have shown interest to jointly take extra gear in making sure that the road is completed.
On Wednesday at Hippo View Lodge in Liwonde during interface meeting with MPs, communities and Journalists, Member of Parliament for Machinga Likwenu Bright Msaka proposed the formation of the taskforce saying they should push the project with one voice.
The interface meeting which was facilitated by the Faith Based Organisation Centre for Social Concern which brought four parliamentarians, Zomba Press Club members and community taskforce for the road together, gave platform to the media to effectively follow up on the delay in the construction project of the so called campaign road.
“I propose to form a Taskforce comprised of all concerned MPs which will jointly work hand in hand with the already exist taskforce for the road project as well you members of the media,” Msaka proposed.
The other Members of Parliament, the media team and community members welcomed the proposal saying it will help to see them walking together with one voice to the last door.
Member of Parliament for Blantyre North constituency Francis Phiso promised to take extra gear and carry placards while pushing for the road where two presidents laid different foundation stones but nothing yet tangible has happened.
When media team asked the Legislators on what has happened for the contractor who started the project to move away from the site, Phiso said he is not yet aware the plans of the current government on the road.
“What I know is that the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government started the construction from Blantyre Lirangwe side but the contractor left the site soon after Fresh Presidential elections and is nowhere to be seen,” said Phiso.
He was, however, very pleased with the interface meeting, saying the formation of the taskforce is an effective way to go in as far as convincing of the current government to re-start the construction of the 63 kilometre road is concerned.
President for Zomba Press Club Titus Linzie said as fourth arm of government, his club which is also the victim of the delayed road, will join efforts to hold duty bearers accountable on the delay of the road which politicians have been using as a campaign tool since 2004.
Linzie said Members of Zomba Press Club are aware that and quoted what Members of Parliament said that the road has been allocated K2 billion for several financial years.
“Our interest as media team is to make sure that government fulfils the promised made previously to have this road completed. We as members of Zomba Press Club have joined concerned Machinga-Chingale-Lirangwe road citizens to hold duty bearers accountable on the promises and delay of the road,” he said.
He added that it’s now time for government to find the lasting solution to unlock all the challenges that delay the construction of the road.
Representing concerned citizens and community taskforce, Sub-Traditional Authority Nkapita of Zomba said the joint efforts to push for the action to have this road constructed will bear good fruits.
Nkapita does not understand what has actually failed government to construct the road despite campaigning for it for over 15 years.
Director for Centre for Social Concern Fr Dr James Ngahy was very impressed with the meeting because he heard from all angles and concerned parties.
Dr Ngahy said the coming together of all concerned parties on the road is very successful thing to push for the finalization of the road project.
“This time around, duty bearers and people themselves including the media have come together and find way forward on how to push for the road which has been stagnated for many years,” said Ngahy.
He said during the meeting, MPs said they have been working tirelessly to push for the road but information has never reached the community.
It is very shameful to the government of Malawi to have two state presidents – Dr Joyce Banda and Prof. Peter Mutharika – to have laid two foundation stones but nothing has been done.
Two months ago, chiefs and community members from Chingale petitioned government and district council for sidelining the area in terms of development projects.
Chingale community taskforce also petitioned government on the delay of the Machinga-Chingale-Lirangwe road.
The road has turned into campaign tool as all leadership campaigned for the road in order to be voted into power but Dr Lazarus Chakwera is the fourth President since the campaign for the road started.