Tiwonge Kumwenda –Nyasa Times
Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has deployed a battalion of its youth cadets in the northern border district of Karonga where there is tension with the impending protests against the renaming of a road linking the district with Chitipa after late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
President Peter Mutharika, a brother to Bingu, will officially name the road on Friday.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa said the decision to rename Karonga-Chitipa road to Bingu Highway came from chiefs in the two districts.
He said “Bingu was an icon of development and deserves to be honoured” for successfully completing the construction of the road linking Chitipa and Karonga to the rest of the country.
But there have been protests from communities who plan to hold demonstrates on Friday.
One of the organisers, Steven Simsokwe told Nyasa Times that they will show their disapproval to the name Bingu Highway, saying government should listen to the people not “politicians disguised as chiefs.”
Simsokwe said the road should have been named after great sons of the soil in north Malawi like pro-democracy champion Chakufwa Chihana, Orton Chirwa and former speaker Rodwell Munyenyembe.
“We will hold protests against the name,” Simsokwe said.
But DPP have been prepared with its cadets sharpening pangas to defend the name.
To beef up the battalion of DPP cadres, the ruling party has also engaged students at the Mzuzu University.
“We are indeed coming there to deal with the Karonga and Chitipa residents who are against the decision of naming Karonga-Chitipa road Bingu highway after being approached by the DPP party officials,” confided some students.
However, DPP deputy regional governor in the north, Smart Kayira said President Mutharika is not coming to rename the road as that process was already concluded by the local chiefs.
“The President visit is to inspect the police houses affected by the floods and the not naming Karonga-Chitipa road, therefore those who are panicking with demonstration are just wasting their time,” said Kayira.
Simsokwe said they are not shaken with reports of facing DPP cadets if they demonstrate.
The architect of the renaming of the road is said to be Chief Kyungu of Karonga.
The project of the road was started during Bakili Muluzi tenure with funding from Taiwan and it continued with China funds after the switch of diplomatic ties by the Bingu regime.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :