Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Gospel Kazako says the nine-party Tonse Alliance administration led by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) will proceed with its plans to construct houses for members of parliament in all 193 constituencies whether some people like it or not.
The plans were announced by President Lazarus Chakwera in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) address last Friday.
However, opposition in parliament and some commentators have spoken against the move, saying prioritize construction of houses for teachers, health workers and security agents rather than moving to construct MPs houses.
Social and political commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani has observed: “Building houses for MPs is not a priority right now, and there is no other way to put it. We have many priorities as a country, far more critical than houses for MPs.”
Kenani pointed out that the mess in the country’s education and health system alone would take years to resolve.
“Then there is the transport infrastructure that waits funding – anybody who has read the National Transport Master Plan will know this. Ports on Lake Malawi long decayed. Railways are as good as dead – save for the track by Vale. With tobacco on its deathbed the rural economy is dead and we urgently need a solution to help our farmers.
“Amidst all that, our President thinks that what us more pressing is the need for MPs to have their own houses or offices or whatever you call them. Right in his very first ever budget!” wrote Kenani.
But Kazako, who is government spokesperson, said the housing project for MPs will help government save on expenditure in the long run.
“This will save money, billions of billions of kwacha are spend on allowances for MPs accommodation,” said Kazako.
He said the project will proceed.
However, Kenani pointed out that the biggest mistake the country will make is to think that whatever the President does or say is right and sacrosanct.
Meanwhile, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Ntchisi South Ulemu Chilapondwa has condemned those that are objecting the MPs housing project calling them hypocrites.
Chilapondwa said those objecting the housing project, particularly MPs, should stop getting the accommodation allowances if they are serious about prioritizing the welfare of people in constituencies.
He said the country needs the houses as they are permanent structures and will serve MPs for a long period of time and in turn help government save on accommodation allowances for MPs.
Rumphi West Independent MP Yona Mkandawire says government is spending about K2.3 billion a year in accommodation for MPs hence the need for construction of houses for the MPs.
The new administration was ushered in following its triumph in the court-ordered June 23 Fresh Presidential Election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :