North Malawi query China’s aid projects: ‘We’ve been deprived’

Leaders in the northern region in the arenas of religion, development and social science, politics and activism have taken turns in faulting the Malawi government for behaving “regionalist” in her manner of allocating USS1.3 million worth of development projects that are expected to be financed by the Chinese government.

Dan Msowoya: North Malawi deprived
Dan Msowoya: North Malawi deprived

The seven projects which include the construction state-of-the-art international airport at Chileka in the commercial capital Blantyre, have opened a can of worms across the citizenry with some in defence of the state and others doing otherwise.

This week, Minister of Information and government spokesperson Jappie Mhango defended government saying the northern region was “equally benefitting” from government development projects.

Mhango cited the to-be constructed Karonga Stadium in Karonga and the University of Mombera in Mzimba, among others.

But political activist and ex-Alliance for Democracy (Aford) secretary general Dan Msowoya quashed Mhango’s arguments saying “we’ve been deprived.”

He told Nyasa Times that there was no guarantee that the money for construction of the stadium and the university in Karonga and Mzimba respectively was available.

“And the projects are not actually part of the seven projects we’re talking about.”

He added: “Actually, it took billions of kwacha to build the university at Ndata (private palace of late Bingu wa Mutharika), how can a mere K100 million build the so called Mombera University. And, we don’t know whether any money is available for the project[s].”

Social commentator Gerrard Nkhata depriving the northern region of the projects was a “non-starter” not only for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) but also to the government of Malawi.

“It is the most important part of Malawi in terms of minerals and closeness to Tanzania where the economy is growing at a supersonic speed,” he argued.

Nkhata said “except for the electricity and internet projects, I would cancel all the projects. If I were government I would replace them with a railway to connect the North to the Centre. This would significantly help in transporting the minerals between the regions.”


Msowoya described the allocation of the projects as being “unconstitutional.”

He said: “I don’t remember the issue being ever tabled in parliament. If it were the question would have been why not in the north.”

Msowoya then described politicians from the Northern Region “impotent” because they had failed to deliver.

“They’re tamed. They cannot think on their own. Their impotence has been detrimental to development in the northern region,” he argued.

He claimed in 1996 government secured a loan from the Kuwait Bank for the Mzimba-Kafukule-Njakwa Road but the money was diverted for the construction of a road in Mangochi during the United Democratic Front (UDF).

“It was because of the same impotence of our leaders,” he argued.

Msowoya, also a spokesperson for a forum advocating for a federal system of government in the country, said “all these should not have been issues if we were run by a federal system of government.”

Government should listen

Synod of Livingstonia General Secretary Levi Nyondo suggested “government should listen by rescinding its decision.”

He said all the regions including the northern region looked up to government as their “mother.” But, he added, it was disappointing that government was not distributing the national cake equally.

“They [government] have demonstrated that our [northern region] is not a priority.”

Opposing views

But UK-based social and development scientist Pearson Nkhoma said he had no problems with the projects.

“This shows Malawi has more potential for investment. Government should now do more to attract Russia or Brazil to invest.

“China cannot invest in every district. The Centre and the South are also part of Malawi. The development is happening in Malawi even if it were all allocated in Nsanje,” argued Nkhoma.

Funded projects

Of the seven projects only three are grants totalling $58 million (K33 billion) for the construction of the Blantyre District Hospital and Cancer Centre in Blantyre. The Blantyre District Hospital is set to be built at Kameza on the site where the abandoned Muammar Gaddafi Hospital Project was.

The projects would be financed by China Exim Bank, main lenders, while most would be implemented by China Gezhouba Group Company Limited.

Chinese aid figures are treated as state secrets. Exim Bank publish no figures about their vast loans to poor countries.

Among the grants which China has made is $2 million (about K1.1 billion) for the procurement of police for the Malawi Police Service, construction of a technical teacher’s training college costing $5 million (about K2.8 billion) and construction of community technical colleges costing $6 million.

Under the grants, China will also support technical services for the Bingu National Stadium for $1 million (K570 million), construction of a new Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation building amounting to $3 million and procurement of office equipment and furniture for the Ministry of Industry and Trade amounting to $1 million.

China has pended for review road projects namely Tsangano-Neno-Mwanza Road, Mangochi-Makanjira Road and the upgrading of the Phombeya-Makanjira-Nkhotakota-Chatoloma 220 kv power line.

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6 years ago

we r all Malawians and let’s move together no one should divide us.

6 years ago

Kkkk. Lets imagine the state of the srt internaationsl airport goes to Mzimba or Mzuzuni. Who will be flying there? To do what? What do u want the airport in Mzukuzuku for? It is the economic activities that draw pipo into BT more than anywhere else in Malawi. Boma z in LL but BT keeps changing for the bettr. It is probably the only city in the country that has city standards. Y cant u ask urself that even anexecutive coach line never goes Northern way. Even axa! The market is self regulated atumbuka imwe. Business goes where thre… Read more »

6 years ago

iweyo ndiwe garu weni weni.ukuganiza Dan angachite mantha anayamba,nthawi,bakili iyeyo Dan ukumvera chisoni anthu akumpoto

Lenadi bonke
6 years ago

Inutu atumbuka dyera simuzalamulira Malawi. Mumalembana ambwenumbwenu okhaokha pa ntchito. Ife tizikuponderezani m’boma

6 years ago

Winston Nsowoya, just to school you abit,you have missed it big time when you say that in Mozambique, the majority tribe are the shanganis. Infact they are one of the average tribes,they are only advantaged than the rest because of being in the south close to south africa. You even notice when you meet them. The majority tribe is makuwa which runs from the centre(zambezia province) to far north with denominations of lhomwes,chuabu and makonde where nyusi happens to come from. On sidelining the north in developmental issue I don’t see any problems with government building something in Lilongwe than… Read more »

6 years ago

Agalu inu ambwenumbwenu, mumadzatenga athu aku Mozambique mwati ndi a central or south. Mututane kumeneko nda azigogo anu omwe mubwere kuno azigogo anuwo azaone nyumba zakubambanabambana, azabibenso m’maje. Bwerani chitukuko ndichakuno kumeneko tidzalako nkhalango, the biggest manmade forest in africa kkkkkkkkkkkkkqkqkqkqk!

Winston Msowoya
Winston Msowoya
6 years ago

It is shameful and disappointing to read all about hatrade comments in Nyasatime day in day out while we have acute and devastating economic problems affecting all poor Malawians regardless from where they come from.This trend seems to gain momentum each day comes in with the express support to be fair,from Southern and Central local and national leaders.The often repeated accusations against the hated Northerners is,” Atumbuka akudzikonda.”This remark is purely driven by jealousies and ignorance of the highest level.Animals for that matter also love themselves,every human being loves himself/ herself so what’s wrong for Tumbukas to love themselves.Afterall,a Tumbuka… Read more »

6 years ago

Ahinya takhalani kaye Presedent….then muzizazigaiyila chitukuko mukufunacho….anthu ozikonda inu!

6 years ago

ine sitingakwatire nchewa,nsena,chimlomwe ndi chiabiti ujeni,never never never never.anthu ochitindidwa ndi fisi kapena nyahumbi ine ayi.amene mukupanga timacomment tikumanyoza the blessed people(manorthers),bwerani kumpoto muzaziwonere m’mene southeners ndima centraners akuvutikira ndiukaporo.even government knows that slave trade yikadalipo kumpoto.sitizasiya kukutengani muma track ndikumakagwira ukayidi ku north.ngati kwanu kumwera kapena pakati kuli chitukuko,nanga bwanji azimbale anu akumwera/pakati amabwera kumazagwira ugadi kuno? otsawalemba ntchito konko bwanji? ntchito zomwe amafuna kuno zopanda mapepara? muzimvere chisoni anthu mukupanga macomment pano.anthu otsaphuzira kwawo ku jando/simba kapena kudabwe.chokani apa anthu omakonza ndi kunyera mumabigiri usiku toilet yiri pompo.umve umve anthu inuuuuuu,

6 years ago

I thought it was agreed that the Cancer Centre will be constructed in Lilongwe. How come this report says Blantyre?

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