Concern Citizens for the Protection Mulanje Mountain on Sunday apologized to Minister of Agriculture, Water and Irrigation Development George Chaponda for chasing him away at the launch of Likhubula Water Project late last August.
The group blocked the road to the water project whilst throwing stones at the minister car and had to seek refuge at Hapuwani Lodge as the protester demanded Blantyre Waterboard plant trees before the project started, as initially agreed upon.
CCPMM met with Chaponda at his residence after Chonde Trading Centre to express their regrets, saying they misunderstood everything.
David Majeweta spokesperson for CCMPMM said: “We came here to humbly apologize to the Minister for what happened on August 29 at Likhubula ground. The people were not consulted and so they did not understand the but now they that they do know how important it is for the benefit of ordinary Malawians we will work together to achieve this.”
Majeweta pointed blame on misdirected anger after seeing Carlo Bruessaw of Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust whom CCPMM regards as the one who has depleted the mountain of “disguise of trying to plant Cider trees on the mountain for over 18 years since 1999”
He said: “The Minister was chased away because of Carlo Bruessaw who has plundered the Mountain cutting down trees therefore he should not participate in any activity concerning Mulanje Mountain.”
He further disclosed that following several meetings Memorandum Of Understanding will be signed on Friday so as to commence the tree planting process.
Majeweta expressed optimism of their working partnership. He added the tree planting exercise will start in the second week of December.
Minister Chaponda accepted CCPMMs apology and said they will work together.
Chaponda disclosed headway has been made in identifying type of trees to plant, people to plant and how many to plant as well as it benefits.
“My reaction is that, I am pleased they initiated to have a dialogue with me, they apologized and said it was unfortunate they did not understand. I have accepted their apologies”
The Minister also raised the issue of Mulanje mountain not been fully utilized in terms of publicity as well how much they charge to climb. He talked of linking the group with Ministry Tourism to help them get a good grasp of the tourism side.
Chaponda revealed the second phase of the project will include districts of Mulanje, Thyolo and Chiradzulu.
“Initially the project was only for people of Blantyre but we would like other districts to benefit as well so they will be additional work. This will create long time jobs so I told the people of these benefits and they understood”
In a related development Majeweta distanced the group from allegations of having political backing in orchestrating the violence which took place.
Speaking on allegations of Member of Parliament Bon Kalindo’s involvement ,Majeweta said “Bon Kalindo is a one of the founders but due to circumstances he is in disciplinary action.”
“We’re no longer working with him but I don’t want to comment much as it is an internal affair. When everything settles we will inform.”
Reacting to the news of being removed from his own group, Kalindo said he had heard about it.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :