Bingu names Zomba-Blantyre road: John Chilembwe Highway

President Bingu wa Mutharika has named the Blantyre-Zomba road as John Chilembwe Highway.

The John Chilembwe Highway stretches from Maselema in Blantyre to Liwonde Bride in Machinga.

Mutharika announced the new name when he opened the construction work of the new road in Zomba on Sunday.

He said the name was arrived at after consultations with his party gurus.

“The new baby [road] will now be called John Chilembwe. It will stretch from Maselema to Liwonde Bridge,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika: Names road, John Chilembwe Highway

Chilembwe was a Malawian freedom fighter who led an uprising in 1915 against the white rule. Chilembwe’s face is also depicted on Malawian currency. But the new K1,000 bank note will bear the face of Mutharika.

The launch of the construction work surprised some commentators because the announcement of the road project  was announced two years ago and many Malawians had expected it  to have started at least by last year.

National Roads Authority spokesperson Portia Kajanga was taken to task last year to explain what was delaying the construction work. She said the engineer was putting up his base at Njuli.

Mutharika announced that the road project has been given to Mota Engil- the company that is given almost all construction projects in Malawi. Mota-Engil and Mutharika are buddies. The director of Mota once gave Mutharika free holiday in Portugal.

The construction work is expected to take 24 months and Mutharika has ordered Mota Engil to ensure that the work finishes within the agreed.

But Mutharika expressed concern that there are some civil servants who delay such projects and he warned them to keep their hands off this project.

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