Some chiefs in Dowa have angrily reacted to the decision by President Peter Mutharika not to show up for the opening of Mauni Telecenter at Mponela in Dowa Central constituency as he kept the traditional leaders in the dark on the postponement hours on end.
Group village heads Kampote and Kapichi said they were told on Monday by Information minister Nicholas Dausi that Mutharika would be officially opening the telecentre after the official launch of the satellite TV at Mponela.
“However, after the launch of the satellite TV we were not told anything, they just kept us in a room. They did not even have the courtesy of telling us that the President is long gone. This is unfair,” said Group Village Head Kampote.
“We feel deceived. We have missed an opportunity to see our own Head of State physically. We wanted to tell him the problems we are facing here because our MP has failed to solve them on her own,” complained Group Village Headman Kapichi, surrounded by equally disgruntled fellow chiefs.
Chipped in Group Village Headman Kapote: “We are not happy at all. Some of these people left useful things they were doing and walked long distances to come here”.
According to the two chiefs, Dausi assured them that Mutharika would come.
Mutharika was on Tuesday launching the satelliteTV which will see 500 villages across the country watch tvs courtesy of the Chinese government.
Mauni Telecenter, seemingly a moderate rich man’s house in a rural village, had twenty computers, chairs, printer and photocopier at the time of its purported opening.
It is among the structures the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is putting up in Malawi’s 193 constituencies in a project which seeks to bring ICT services to rural communities for the development of the country.
“Malawi’s uptake of ICT is very low as compared to many other countries. It is government’s wish that people begin to access any information they want and know what is happening around them through the internet by using structures such as this. They can also type, print and photocopy documents here,” MACRA’s Director General Godfrey Itaye told journalists earlier.
He added that it is the community’s responsibility to look after the facility so that it continues to serve them sustainably.
Group Village Headman Khwema and one Beneficiary Christopher Mbang’ombe committed themselves to
implementing Itaye’s plea.
“I learned how to use these computers so I can share the knowledge and skills with fellow community members. You can imagine the long term benefits this would give us in terms of jobs and other opportunities,” said Mbang’ombe.
But the disappointment over Mutharika’s alleged sudden change of heart not to open the Telecenter himself, evidently overshadowed people’s excitement about the project.
“This is not fair. How could a whole president keep us waiting here for the whole day in vain? Just imagine, I have had no time to eat,” fumed Elizabeth Chimbalu.
Charles Simon said, “I think it is high time leaders stopped taking people for granted. Mutharika has missed an opportunity to mingle with the grassroot masses here”.
Dausi however played down the issue, saying the President wanted to travel on time not after darkness.
“It was just a matter of time, the President was just running out of time,” said Dausi.
MP for the area Jean Kalirani has since apologized to the traditional leaders.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :