Opposition political parties in Malawi on Thursday held a news conference at Crossroads Hotel where they expressed their frustration following the countless abandoned projects by the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Leader of opposition in parliament Lazarous Chakwera, who is also president Malawi Congress Party (MCP), led the news conference where the leaders tackled a number of critical issues affecting the nation.
Chakwera accused DPP leaders of self-aggrandsiment, and wrongful enrichment ahead of national interests.
He mentioned some of the stalled infrastructural projects such as the Churchill Road (Illovo Roundabout to Mitima Road roundabout).
“The dual carriage way had stalled when contract price escalated to around twice the original price due to implementation delay and change of designs. The project has been handed over to Fargo, the initial contractor for a contract price of K400million The strange thing is that President Peter Mutharika uses this stretch of road every time he drives to his home. No one cares and he does not care either,” said Chakwera.
He also mentioned about the Chiradzulu Turn-off to Maselema Roundabout road in Limbe which he said when it started MK12.4 billion was spent but the project cannot be concluded because of a stand-off in compensation due to, among other things, deteriorating standards for respect for rule of law.
On Liwonde to Nsanama road, Chakwera said construction started 10 years ago amid great fanfare and pomp. The works remain unfinished .
He also mentioned the Zomba Airwing Jali to Chitakale in Mulanje road which he said started 10 years ago and the project has been receiving budget lines yet this is only the second year that saw some serious works with re-mobilization on bridges and culverts .
Other examples which Chakwera gave during the presser included Thyolo to Bangula Road, Mzimba, Ekwendeni via Kafukule road, Lirangwe to Liwonde via Chingale road,
In the central region Chakwera gave examples of Lumbadzi Dowa, to Chezi road. Dual carriage way from Capital Hotel roundabout to Area 18 roundabout.
The opposition also wondered the stalling of Nsanje Inland Port.
“This project was started, completed and officially opened at a cost of MK4 billion over 7 years ago. It remains unused and is a monument to needless waste. We are today asking this Government to explain this,” said Chakwera
As that was not enough, the opposition political parties are demanding government to explain the stalling of Commercial Court Building along Sanjika Road in Blantyre.
“DPP should also explain Blantyre police station project which was started 15 years ago. This year MK500 million budget was allocated to it. The funny thing is that construction has not yet started,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera also accused the DPP administration of “official deception”.
“Construction of roads in the townships is done for political purposes to give the people the impression that the government is serious about infrastructural development. However, the roads are so sub-standard that they are pot-holed within a month.
“These are projects that were started with Presidential political pressure without proper planning procedures. Contractors were hired and made to mobilize close to campaign time. Contractors used own resources, and sometimes got loans from banks. Months down the line, the government could not pay. This has led to contractors charging implausible interests over unpaid debts. In some instances, up to around 42%.” said Chakwera.
The opposition Leaders also alleged that rampant corruption, theft, waste and embezzlement of public funds and resources at the highest levels of government has destroyed the developmental impact of all these massive investments.
“It is massive amounts of money going down the drain. Many of the roads were abandoned and the money disappeared into private pockets. Road contractors openly talk of budgeting for bribes to government Officials and giving 10% to the ruling party. This, sadly, is a cost which is borne by the tax-payer.”
The opposition pointed out that Malawi has a serious governance crisis.
Among the political leadsers who attended the news conference included George Nnesa of MAFUNDE, Loveness Gondwe of NARC, Sam Mpasu of NLP, Mark Katsonga Phiri of PPM.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :