The economy of Malawi “is at a crossroads” having been rated poor of the poorest in the world, opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) lawmaker for Kasungu East, Madaliso Kazombo told parliament.
Kazombo noted that despite economic difficulties, the southern African country’s population is growing at an alarming rate.
“In fact maternal mortality rates are still high. Cancer cases, stroke cases, are the order of the day as I am speaking at the moment,” said Kazombo.
“Our youth have been left unattended to, unemployment rates are high. Every day we hear of crime, robberies, and police being shot. This is just a reflection of how our youth have been left unattended to, and as a result they have nothing to do but to be involved in various malpractices,” said the MP.
He was speaking in his contribution to the debate on the 2015/16 national budget.
Kazombo catalogued problems people are facing including lack of safe water, saying the Peter Mutharika government in the budget “has done nothing regarding drilling of boreholes, and yet most of us come from rural constituencies where our people have no water.”
“Our health system is still struggling to meet critical needs. Kasungu East Constituency at the moment remains a constituency without an ambulance. Mthunthama health centre has only one bed for maternal services. Newly born babies share a room with guardians. Wimbe Health Centre has no guardian shelter.
“The idea of safe motherhood remains a mystery in Kasungu East as people from Kapyanga who moulded more than 600,000 bricks, walk 49 kilometres to Kasungu Boma to get medical services, 50 years after Malawi attained independence, 20 years after we embraced multiparty politics, and yet these people are Malawians,” lamented Kazombo.
He drew wrath of government benches when he said people from Dzaleka refugee camp who are not Malawians have all the care from the government, and yet “real Malawians from Kapyanga have no hospital. Kapyanga people have turned into refugees. Refugees from Mozambique and other places at Dzaleka in Dowa have turned to be Malawians; this is very shameful.”
The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Paul Chibingu stood on a point of order, saying people in his constituency “are not refugees, they are Malawians.”
The First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje said point of order was sustained. And Kazombo continued: “If a fellow Malawian walks 49 kilometres, a pregnant woman walks 49 kilometres from Kapyanga to Kasungu Boma; should we say that person indeed is benefiting from the rights of being a Malawian? I am talking of what is happening in my constituency.
“Every week I have to go to a funeral because a person has died when she was giving birth due to a complication that had occurred because she was not attended to by medical personnel. Do you call that person benefitting from the rights of being a Malawian?”
He said farmers are not benefiting from tobacco.
“ Our people from the central region, from Namwera in Mangochi, from Mwazisi in Rumphi with their hard working spirit, do not get the fruits from their labour, and yet they are Malawians.,” said Kazombo.
“It is these buyers of tobacco that are benefiting from the crop and yet the farmer on the ground still remains miserable year after year, with no change on the ground. The farmer fails to pay school fees and yet we hear tobacco has earned the country so many dollars when the actual farmer does not get any reward. (This is pathetic, this is sad, it is better we just declare that there should be no more farming of tobacco because the more we grow tobacco, the poorer we become. What is it now?”
Kazombo said the much touted Greenbelt Initiative has just been “mere rhetoric” with no action .Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :