Malawi’s opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) president and 2014 presidential candidate Atupele Austin (AA) Muluzi on Sunday bemoaned the destruction of one of the country’s major forest cover, Chikangawa Plantation in the northern region, saying it is a setback to development.
Muluzi was speaking at Mzuzu upper stadium ground in his first “Agenda for Change” rally in the northern region’s Mzuzu city.
He said he was saddened to note the vast patches of empty hectare and burnt forests left idle in Chikangawa Forest, one of Malawi’s scenic landmarks and a major environmental asset.
“Let me mention here that it is a shame what is happening to Chikangawa Forest. The Chikangawa Forest has always been a source of income and survival to many. My heart bleeds out when I see the state of Chikangawa,” the UDF presidential candidate said.
He said issues of environment and that of Chikangawa will also be discussed at a policy convention the UDF will hold next year. The presidential hopeful said among other issues, the upcoming conference will look at guidelines in job creation, food security, health, energy and water.
Atupele said Chikangawa Forest crisis is eroding Malawi’s already minor efforts in mitigating climate change and it would be dangerous in future if the plantation is lost.
Atupele, who recently resigned from the Cabinet where he served as Minister of Economic Planning and Development since April this year, pointed out that there is need “to pay special attention to mining.”
Northern region boosts of mining projects such as Paladin’s uranium mine at Kayelekera in Karonga and Kanyika Nobium mining in Mzimba.
The presidential hopeful said Malawi “need to share resources equitably.”
He said: “In other countries they have empowerment programmes where 30% or more goes to local people who must benefit. We need to have a discussion about this,” he said.
Change and renewal
Atupele maintained his pledge to practice civilised politics , saying if UDF wins in 2014, things will be different.
The UDF president said he will infuse key values within and across all party structures such as “harnessing a renewed sense of purpose, programmes and open to new ideas for transforming Malawi.”
“This is a new generation of Leadership that has now taken charge and we need to improve upon the goodthings of the previous leadership and not to repeat the mistakes of the past,” he added.
Atupele said he was interested to have a team of fresh leaders that carry no prejudices, saying they should “clean the politics of Malawi.”
Muluzi stressed that the UDF’s ‘Agenda for Change’ movement is committed to balanced national development.
“This whole nation of Malawi needs to move forward together at the same pace. No Malawian should feel excluded, undermined or deprived,” he said.
Atupele managed to speak some Tumbuka, the local lingua , concluding his rally by saying “paumaliro nate nimuwongeni mose chifukwa chakwiza kwanu, chiuta wamutumbikeni (Finally I would like to tank you all for coming to this rally, may God bless you.)”
Earlier in the day, Atupele worshiped at Chibavi CCAP Livingstonia Synod Church in the city where he also contributed K250,000 to the fundraising pot of the church.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :