Hon. Mbewe
Hon. Mbewe-reacting to the condition of the road,pix by William Mponda

Members of Parliament(MPs) under the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Public Infrastructurelast week Thursday had a rude awakening when they got stuck while on their way from Lirangwe to Machinga during an inspection tour of the Lirangwe,Chingale-Machinga road.

The Parliamentarians were delayed for close to two hours at Nsambamwali bridge where heavy rainswashed away the bridge as the one of the vehicles that was part of the tour gotstunk while trying to cross over to the other side of the bridge.

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) organized anadvocacy tour for the Parliamentary Committee members along with the Bishop ofZomba diocese, His Lordship George Tambala, ECM Secretary General, Fr. HenrySaindi, Director of Social Development for ECM, Carstens Mulume and the media.

CCJP NationalProgrammes Coordinator, Wezzie Banda Matsimbe said for about nine years now, peoplealong Lirangwe, Chingale-Machinga road have been facing several challenges dueto the nature of the road hence their advocacy role to make sure thatgovernment constructs the road.

“This is an importantroad, not only to people of Lirangwe, Chingale and Machinga but to the nationas a whole. The road is only 63 kilometers long and could last for about 45minutes to drive. However,it take more hours for one to drive,” said Matsimbe.

Member of Parliamentfor Blantyre North Constituency, Francis Phiso said he along with fellowmembers of parliament from Zomba Chingale, Zomba Lisanjala and Machinga Likwenihas been asking government to prioritize this road in its budgets but nothingyet on the ground.

He said with theabsence of a good road network, farmers are failing to take their products tothe market, pregnant women dying on their way to clinics and at the same timeambulances fail to ferry patients to referral hospitals.

“Not only that, if thisroad is constructed, it will shorten the distance from Blantyre to Mangochiwhich is a tourist attraction district. This is good for the economy of ournation. On behalf of people of Blantyre North Constituency and of course fromfellow constituencies whose this road passes through,would like to appeal forthe construction of this road,”

His appeal was encoredby Traditional Authority Nkula of Machinga who demanded for an immediateconsideration in constructing the road.

He commended CCJP forsetting up task force committees to lobby and advocate for this road hence walkwith them since 2008.

Reacting to therequests made by all concerned citizens along the Lirangwe,Chingale-Machingaroad, Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and PublicInfrastructure, Victor Mbewe said government has put in place MK14 Billion in 2017/2018budget for the construction of this road.

“I am actually sharingsame concerns with communities along Lirangwe, Chingale-Machinga road. Infact, Ialong with feel committee members have experienced the pinch of this road. It’strue, people are suffering a lot,” said Mbewe who is also an MP for BlantyreCity South East constituency.

He said as a committeethey will strive for the implementation and ensure proper utilization of thefunds that have been put in place, so that it benefits the ordinally citizenryalong the road.

However, MP for ZombaLisanjala, Enock Luka is of the view that the money allocated is minimal andgovernment should consider increasing it. He said for a start, that is fine aslong as the road commences, people will be happy

Bishop Tambala alsochallenged government to put the welfare of its people first hence ensure thatthe construction of the road starts immediately.

“As a Church, we arenot only concerned with the spiritual aspect of a human being but alsowellbeing of every person. It is for this reason that we promote goodgovernance and rule of law to every Malawian through our commissions and CCJPbeing one of them,” said Bishop Tambala.

Former President, JoyceBanda once laid a foundation stone for the construction of theLirangwe,Chingale-Machinga road after securing a MK10 Billion loan from theKuwait fund and a camp side was already erected at Chipini along the road.

The road connects theareas of Traditional Authories (T/A) Lundu in Blantyre,Mulumbe in Zomba andNkula in Machinga.

CCJP is implementing the Promotion of Democratic andAccountable Governance (PDAG) project where the advocacy component of theLirangwe,Chinga-Machinga road,fall under with finding from Trocaire.

 

By Prince Henderson, A Contributor

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