Tiwonge Kumwenda –Nyasa Times
Hundreds of irate residents of Karonga and Chitipa on Monday petitioned Malawi President Peter Muthalika against his decision of idolizing his late brother Bingu Wa Muthalika by naming the multibillion Karonga-Chitipa road to Bingu highway and have since threatened to hold protests on its official inaugurations.
Government announced that the naming of the road has come from traditional leaders in the Karonga-Chitipa and President Mutharika is set to install the name on May 30.
However, communities of both districts have vehemently denied the claim through the petition dated 23 May, 2016 and signed by 42 representatives. saying the process used is unacceptable in a democratic world.
“We as concern citizens of Nyakaronga and Chitipa are of the views that the decision made by the chiefs for asking your office to name Karonga-Chitipa road ‘Bingu high-way’ was ill formed and miscalculated,” argued the petition
The petition argued that “no consultation was done by the chiefs to all stakeholders in their respective areas and therefore we suspect that the chiefs made the decision is to gain favour and political mileage from your office.”
It further reminds government that the said road was initiated during the Bakili Muluzi era; completed by Bingu and officially opened by Joyce Banda administration therefore it is unfair to name it Bingu high-way.
According to the community, the name ‘Bingu’ has been spoiled by the death of 20 people during the 20 July, 2016 demonstration, Kayerekera issues as well as quota system among others.
The petition therefore asks the President to act as matter of urgent by withdrawing the decision in order to pave way for proper consultation while demanding the true evidence and process used by the chiefs to come up with the decision.
In a separate interview, the group’S leader Steven Simsokwe warned to hold massive demonstration on the said day especially if Muthalika fails to bow down to their demand
According to Simsokwe, the district has suffered with different problems such floods and cholera disease but the chiefs have failed to invite the President to address their suffering.
Meanwhile, the office of the Karonga District Commissioner has pledged to present the letter in time.