President Mrs. Joyce Banda, who was scheduled to officially commission the much-awaited Karonga-Chitipa Road, has called off the event owing to a road accident that has claimed lives of members of the governing People’s Party (PP) in Chitipa on Monday evening.
State House Press Secretary Steven Nhlane confirmed to Nyasa Times on the line from Mzuzu that the President had decided to cancel her trip to ‘honour’ those that have died as well as the others who got injured in the car accident.
“Details are still sketchy about exact number of people who have died and the injured. They are PP members who were travelling to Chitipa to attend the commissioning of the road on Tuesday and I hear they fell from a moving lorry,” said the presidential press secretary.
“The details of the accident are sketchy but I can confirm several lives have been lost and the President has cancelled the trip indefinitely,” said Nhlane.
He added that the Head of State, who is also leader of the PP was “deeply saddened upon receiving news of the accident”.
Meanwhile, a vehicle carrying MBC radio personnel covering a function attended by President Banda in Rumphi has also been involved in a fatal accident.
Two people – a veteran engineer and a driver – have been confirmed dead
Some people who sustained injuries were taken to hospital.
“At least one death – the driver, a Mr Chindevu [Vindebvu Banda], while some people who sustained injuries have been taken to hospital,” said Nhlane, quoting a Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalist Dalitso Chimwala who was at the scene.
He added: “But Rev. Malani Mtonga of State House, who helped to ferry those injured, talks of two deaths – the second one an MBC engineer [Dave Mkuwu].”
According to the Press Secretary, the President will, however, go ahead on Tuesday morning to officially commission the South Rukuru Bridge that has been constructed with financial and technical assistance from the Government of Japan.
Initially, the programme was that after the South Rukuru Bridge event, President Banda would have proceeded to Chitipa to officially commission the Karonga-Chitipa Road, which has been constructed with financial and technical assistance from the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
The state-of-the-art South Rukuru Bridge is in Rumphi District on the M1 Mzuzu-Karonga Road.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :