Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Atupele Muluzi has warned politicians in the country against sidelining vulnerable people and politicizing the Decent and Affordable Housing (Cement and Malata) Subsidy Programme.
Speaking after making a familiarization tour of the impact of the Malata and Cement subsidy programme in Dowa district, Muluzi said President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika wishes to fulfill what he promised to Malawians in the run-up to the 2014 tripartite elections to benefit all deserving Malawians.
Muluzi said the programme is for all the people of the country regardless of their political party affiliations.
The visit to Dowa district came against the background that parliamentarian for Dowa East, Richard Chimwendo Banda told parliament that the people of Dowa East have not benefited much from the programme.
Muluzi said what was said in parliament by the MP has just shown that politicians are not fully involved in the running of the programme at district level.
“Phase 2 of the programme will take politicians on board so that they are aware of what government is implementing in their areas and they have to tell parliament exactly what is on the ground,” Muluzi said.
The minister assured the people of Dowa that he will inform the president of the need to maintain the bumpy Dowa-Chezi Road which connects to the M1 Lilongwe-Salima Road.
Dowa District Commissioner, Fannie Msimuko, said the district was allocated 560 houses to be constructed, 80 in each of the seven constituencies, and that currently 360 houses have been constructed.
“The district was the last to receive the building materials and this rendered us to fail to cover for the remaining balance. Out of the 360 houses that were finished some materials were not sufficient, however the minister has assured us that everything shall be settled before entering the second phase, “Msimuko said.
One of the beneficiaries, Lajab Chigumula from Traditional Authority Chiwere in the district, said transport problems affected the implementation of the programme as the beneficiaries were required to carry materials from centres and sometimes from Dowa Boma to their houses.
Chigumula claimed that the beneficiaries were promised Portland cement but were given another kind of cement which was weaker and has lowered strength of their houses.
Dowa Chiwere East Ward Councilor, Cheukani Madeya, has asked government to revisit its beneficiary selection criteria for the programme to benefit most vulnerable people in the district to achieve its intended purpose.