As the ruling People’s Party (PP) readies for the final round of its primary elections for aspiring Members of Parliament (MPs) and councilors with the Southern Region on January 3 and 4, chiefs in Blantyre have warned aspirants against exploiting their subjects in order to prevail in the polls.
The chiefs, primarily from Traditional Authority Kuntaja’s domain, told Nyasa Times they had learnt lessons from previous winners who made tempting promises but ended up using the electorates before disappearing.
They issued the caution at Michiru Primary School Ground in Blantyre Rural West when People’s Party (PP) officials unveiled to voters aspiring parliamentarian and councilors for the area, George Kajumo and Rosemary Lemani and Nia Jamu, respectively.
“Time for political rhetoric is long gone. What we need are people who are development oriented. We’re no longer going to be sitting back watching them [aspirants] come into our territories, exploit us and vanish leaving our areas the way they found them at the end of the day. We’re not going to accept that,” Group Village Headman (GVH) Chimtumbira told Nyasa Times on the sidelines of the meeting.
She observed that for far too many years now, MPs have ignored the electorates in their development strategies resulting in most projects failing to be implemented.
“Those days are over, those days are done and what we want to happen here is an emergence of a new unified position. We want people on the grassroots to lead the way in developing their area,” she declared adding, “people want more health centers, boreholes and food security.”
GVH Chimkango supported Chimtumbira’s sentiments but observed people at grassroots have always had high expectations of their political leaders but “have failed to live up to their expectations because they have not been aggressive in initiating development.”
“They have failed to work with the people in a meaningful way to develop the area and raise the communities’ standard of living,” he observed.
Traditional leaders Maleya, Pambadza, Kachiwala and Chaola, who were among the chiefs that attended the meeting, also agreed with GVH Chimkango and Chimtumbira assertions in an interview while stressing the need for positive infrastructure development.
However, all the chiefs expressed satisfaction with the coming of Kajumo and Lemani saying in them Blantyre Rural West would witness significant progress.
But Kajumbo, who is the favorite among the five parliamentary aspirants for the constituency, said he would not promise the people heaven on earth but was “ready to transform the area”.
“Once voted that will be the genesis of transformation of this area,” pledged Kajumo, a retired Malawi Defence Force (MDF) solder.
“I have learnt enough lessons… so once you give me your vote I will start on a higher level in as far as working with you is concerned. I plan to provide the missing link between this area and national development.”
He said he decided to stand and compete to bail out the people from the jaws of poverty and help develop Blantyre Rural West that has remained underdeveloped with high level poverty almost 50 years after gaining independence.
Taking her turn, Lemani outlined a number of projects she has ranging from health and education facilities, clean water and food security, among others.
The shadow councilor, however, said her major pledge was “to listen to the people’s needs and strive to address them.”
“While others come here and make promises they could not fulfill, my promises are wants and talent-based aimed at changing people’s lives,” said the determined and youthful Lemani.
She stressed: “What I believe is that besides what I already have and know will successfully implement, it is the people who should approach their councilor with their needs or projects. That way, I am sure will be different from the rest.”
Lemani assured the chiefs and people of the area she would not go off her development agenda insisting she would do everything possible to ensure the area received its share of the national cake.
The governing party started its primaries some three weeks ago in Northern Region and is expected to end with Southern Region this Friday and Saturday.
Blantyre Rural West is currently under Wells Gama of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who lost to a UK based Peter Kumpalume in the party’s primaries held two weeks ago.
Kumpalume is apparently a close ally of DPP’s President Peter Mutharika and Nyasa Times has gathered that immediately after winning the primaries he left for UK and has entrusted his relations and cronies to campaign for him.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :