Karonga-Chitipa residents reject ‘Bingu Highway’

People of Karonga and Chitipa districts have asked President Bingu wa Mutharika to stop naming the highly politicised and controversial Karonga – Chitipa road in his name until proper consultations with relevant stakeholders are done, Nyasa Times has leant.

The naming ceremony happened a few weeks ago during a binge party held at Mikoma beach owned by DPP Regional Governor for the north Frank Mwenefumbo.

A local committee headed by Ndamyo Mwenitete, Steven Simsokwe as Organising Secretary and Innocent Mwalanda as treasurer conducted a survey and sampled 200 people from the two districts.

The survey team generally asked people whether their respective Chiefs or Members of Parliament had consulted them in naming the road.

Mwenefumbo: Nothing wrong with Bingu Highway

Respondents were asked three questions which required either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Did the chief or your MP consult you on the issue? Do you agree to name change? Was there any procedure used?

The result is that 199 respondents ticked, ‘No’ to all the three questions except one, according to the survey results.

But DPP Regional Governor for the north, Mwenifumbo rubbished the survey results saying it had no basis and mandate.

”So many roads and projects in Malawi have been named and have we never heard of any surveys being done. E.g. Rose Chibambo avenue in Mzuzu, Kamuzu Bridge in Lilongwe and other projects too numerous to mention. So why a survey should be done for this road?” Mwenefumbo queried.

He said Chiefs and MPs have peoples’ mandate hence they can speak or make decisions on their behalf.

“So if they decide to honour someone, it means they have done that on behalf of people. That is why I find this so called survey fault and prejudicial,” Mwenefumbo told Nyasa Times on Monday.

He said the road has already been gazetted as Bingu Highway “therefore all those failed politicians and nonentities in society, who want to make names are wasting their time”

But the people, according to the survey, also want the road to revert to its original name of Karonga – Chitipa arguing that honour and recognition should not be bestowed on President Mutharika alone as former President Bakili Muluzi also played his part.

“This is a historical road and people of the two districts have endured so many false promises since colonial days. So it is fair to include them in consultations,” the people said in a statement.

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