Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa on Tuesday chickened out of a political debate aimed at bringing together parliamentary and local government candidates together to face the electorate.
The political debate, organized by National Institute for Civic Education (Nice) Trust went ahead with the UTM Party candidate in Mulanje central Dr. Michael Usi and other 12 local government aspirants in attendance.
The debate took place at Mulanje mission ground in the area of Chief Chikumbu and was aimed at promoting citizen participation in democracy and human rights issues.
During the debate, attended to by Usi, Malawi Congress Party’s Aaron Chambo and independent candidate Godfrey Chelewani, the candidates accused Nankhumwa that he has not lived up to most of his 2014 campaign promises hence his decision to chicken out of the debate.
“For example, Nankhumwa promised us a new hospital, as well as establishing a market for our produce but this has not materialized. We still rely on Mulanje mission hospital where we have to pay and is expensive,” said one of the participants to the debate.
She said the lack of coordinated market for produce has left people in Mulanje central at the mercy of unscrupulous traders.
Usi told the people not to be cheated that development is taking place in the area when poverty is biting hard at family level.
“Development can only be meaningful if you are able to provide for your respective families through employment or businesses,” said Usi.
He said once voted as member of parliament for Mulanje central, he would ensure that women are well represented in all development committees.
Usi, who is also presidential running mate for UTM, also said that he would allow ward councilors do their work unhindered and will not interfere with the Local Development Fund.
“There is a lot of interference by members of parliament on the local development fund. MPs always want to be seen as the onesdoing all the work yet it is normally the councilors who are supposed on the ground with the people,” said Usi.
He pointed out that projects are unfinished and some not even done because some leaders are unscrupulous and treat the LDF and CDF as their pocket money.