Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Patricia Kaliati clashed with opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member for Dedza East Juliana Lunguzi in parliament when she claimed power untility provider Escom which is blaimed for persistent black-outs has management with people from Dedza.
Kaliati raised the issues when Lunguzi was making contributions in the House and citing energy woes and Escom that is struggling particuallry because of ruling party politicians who are on crusade for assets stripping and wrongful enrighment.
But Kaliati fought back saying it incorrect for Lunguzi to be referring to what is happening at ESCOM as political, “knowing that the whole ESCOM management is coming from her district? [Dedza]”.
First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje said Lunguzi “was just expressing her views” and felt she did not warrant such accusations from Kaliati.
In her reaction to Kaliati claims, Lunguzi said: “I don’t know who the management of ESCOM are and they can tell us. The comment that is coming from the Minister just shows how we, as Members, don’t take things seriously in this country. Something is wrong, and the Minister is reflecting on an individual that people are coming from Dedza. In this House where we belong.”
She demanded Kaliati “to bring evidence” on her claims.
In her contribution, Lunguzi said most of the statutory corporations are full of politicians, which makes it very difficult for them to become efficient.
“If you go to ESCOM and water boards in this country, you will find that politicians, governors, constituency chairpersons are filling these boards, Madam First Deputy Speaker. I do not know if this country can really develop with this attitude. I therefore request that government should listen and appoint board members who can deliver in this country,” said Lunguzi.
“Malawi is for all of us. We can continue with the status quo or we can choose to change in the name of the reforms that we have been touting as a country. At times, we seem to turn a blind eye to the calamities that are befalling us right in our midst here,” she said.
Lunguzi said the issue of electricity crisis is serious.
“This afternoon I was visiting a lady, Nomande, not more than 40 years of age, a local entrepreneur and she is doing a good job as a seamstress. She told me that she is almost giving up because she cannot manage to operate buying fuel at K300,000 per month and averaging K10,000 a day on fuel.
“This is what is happening to all of us due to intermittent power supply. Barber shops, maize meals and saloons cannot effectively operate due to persistent power outages. We talk about increasing entrepreneurship in here; it is unfortunate that, as a country, we are not focusing on what is happening in these statutory corporations.”
Lunguzi told the House that challenges facing ESCOM, mostly it is political interference.
“ESCOM is doing a wonderful job and trying their best,” she pointed out.
She also pointed out that ESCOM bought 100 new cars in the past three months, saying “one wonders how they can buy new cars when indeed we are struggling like this, as a country.”
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