Newly-elected Mchinji West member of Parliament (Malawi Congress Party -MCP) Jephter Fackson Mwale decided to devote his first speech to Parliament to highlight critical issues currently affecting the people of of his constituency from food insecurity, education, health, water and sanitation, road networks and general security.
His address which Nyasa Times has christened State Of the Constituency Address (SOCA), Mwale was elected in the November 1 by-election following the the death of Kanjira Banda, told the House that there is acute food shortage in this constituency and that most of his constituents cannot afford to buy a kilogramme of maize in Adamrc at K250 which translates into K12,500.00 per 50 kilogramme bag
“.This is unreasonable and a mockery to the farmers, Mr Speaker, Sirbearing in mind that the vendors bought the same maize at K60 per kilogramme,” he said.
“As you may also be aware, people of Mchinji West, heavily rely on tobacco as a cash crop. However, with the dwindling prices at the markets on the same where the crop has been selling as little as five cents per kilogramme, people have literally nothing to survive on the famine,” he said.
Mwale pointed out that hunger will not end any time soon in Mchinji West Constituency since the number of Fertilizer Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) beneficiaries has further been reduced.
“Thus, most people will not access affordable farm inputs like fertilizer if the programme will not be revisited, ” he said.
Mwale said without fertilizer application, it should not be expected that people can harvest anything at the end of the farming season.
“This is a man-made hunger,” said Mwale attracting shouts from backbenchers of “DPP hunger.”
On the issue of education, Mwale said Mchinji West still has places where pupils walk long distances to access basic education which forces some leaernes to drop from school.
He asked for primary schools to be constructed in villages like Kandekela, Sesitino, Kazambala, Kossamu, Chimbadzo, Kankonole and Nima.
Mwale also said there is also need to construct community day secondary schools around Benjamin area and T.A. Zulu’s headquarters where students also walk long distances in order to access secondary education.
On health, Mwale said Mchinji West is facing “serious challenges” like shortage of drugs, ambulances and run-down infrastructure.
He said there is also a serious problem at the Mchinji district hospital where the only x-ray machine that the hospital had, broke down sometime back, saying poor patients are being referred to CHAM hospitals like Kapiri and Saint Gabriel where they are asked to pay for x-ray services.
“Mr Speaker, Sir, with the levels of poverty in my constituency, how many can afford to pay for x-ray services? This is a great threat to life. Ambulances are also grounded, due to lack of maintenance and fuel. When there is an emergency at Mchinji DHO which requires an ambulance, the hospital personnel have really nothing to do except to ask politicians to contribute. How much do we have that we can be servicing such an institution?” lamented Mwale.
On Water and Sanitation, Mwale lamented that there are so many areas where people use unsafe water and asked for boreholes to be drilled.
Road network, Mwale told the House that most roads in his constituency are in bad shape and impassable during the rainy season.
“There is need for rehabilitation of the roads so that they can survive all types of weather. You may wish to know that some roads in the constituency have no culverts, for example, the 30 kilometre road that starts from Chinkhota Turn-Off to Mphanga through Chioko and Chiosha has only two culverts. This is one of the reasons, Mr Speaker, Sir, that the roads do not survive during rainy season and they are washed away. There is therefore need that these roads should be professionally maintained,” said Mwale.
Mwale told Parliament that has some areas which require Police units like sChiosha Trading Centre which he said is one of the fastest growing trading centres in my constituency.
In his his maiden speech, Mwale thanked God the Almighty for his election victory, saying “without his help, it could have been just a dream.”
Mwale also thanked his party president Lazarous Chakwela, MCP membership for propelling him to victory.
“Mr Speaker, Sir, my statement will be incomplete without mentioning the people of Mchinji West Constituency who have shown a lot of confidence in the Malawi Congress Party and its leadership as demonstrated by the results of the by-election,” said Mwale.
He went on to thank Traditional Authorites Zulu and Simphasi, all village heads and all the people of the constituency “for ensuring that democracy wins. I salute you all.”
Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in Parliament, said in an interview later that by winning the by-election which ruling DPP leadership including President Peter Mutharika “barked a lot” during campaign in Mchinji West, democracy had won.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :