By Watipaso Mzungu
The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its partner United Democratic Front (UDF) are on a collision course over the distribution and implementation of development projects, with latter accusing the DPP-led administration of favouring the Lhomwe belt.
UDF member of Parliament (MP) for Machinga East, Esther Jolobala, last week condemned the DPP government for ‘favouring Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe’ in the implementation of various taxpayer-funded development projects.
She was speaking outside Parliament in Lilongwe.
She cited the construction of road projects, which she said have been concentrated in the four districts at the expense of the national interest.
“We want equal distribution of the development projects. This is taxpayers’ money. As government is constructing the Chiringa-Muloza Road and other roads in the four districts, we want progress on other roads as well. Where is the money for the other roads? Why is government diverting money for other roads to Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe? This is very unfair,” she said.
Jolobala alleged that the Nsanama-Nayuchi Road Project had stalled because government diverted money to serve the interests of the Lhomwe belt.
“In the 2018/19 national budget allocated MK2 billion. The Treasury has reduced the budget to K1 billion. But since the passing of the budget in June 2018, nothing has happened on the ground. Surprisingly, in August 2018, the Roads Authority advertised for the contractors to apply for eight roads. And Nsanama-Nayuchi Road, Chiringa-Muloza Road, Salima-Dwambazi Road, Nsulira-Nkhotakota Road (Game Section), Mzimba-Ezondweni-Njakwa Road, Mzuzu-Bula-Usisya Road, Kamuzu Academy-Mtunthama-Kapelula-Wimbe-Nkhotakota Road and Marka-Nsanje Road.
“Our investigations have revealed that Treasury doesn’t have adequate resources. Government has given priority to Chiringa-Muloza Road. I was told government spends about K800 million to K1 billion per kilometre. Not even a design has taken place on the project. My fear is that the national cake is not shared/distributed equally. Some Malawians should not be treated as if they are more Malawian than others,” Jolobala emphasised.
But the DPP Publicity Secretary, Nicholas Dausi, hit back at the legislator, saying it was wrong for Jolobala to ‘wash dirty linen in public’.
“UDF is our partner in government. As such, I did not expect them to start castigating or criticising the government of which they are part,” said Dausi.