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Mombera University omission sparks debate

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Benedicto Kondowe

Mombera University was one of the key developmental projects that the Tonse Alliance promised in the run up to the fresh presidential elections to continue once ushered into government but shockingly it has not been reflected in the 2020/21 financial budget.

Presenting to Parliament the 2020/21 budget Finance Minister, Felix Mlusu, said the Tonse Alliance led Government, will speed up implementation of development projects by ensuring that only projects with detailed designs are allocated resources in the budget.

Mombera is one of the projects that has detailed designs; construction of road network in and outside the campus was completed late last year.

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Apparently, a fence that was constructed at the entrance of the premises is falling apart as contractor also vacated the place about a year ago.

“Madam Speaker, some projects may have designs but still require undergoing a review as those projects may have taken time to commence,” the minister said.

But Minister of Information who is also government spokesperson, Gospel Kazako, said the project is still government’s top priority.

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He said while they are aware of people’s expectations, all the promises they made they cannot be met at a go.

“You might be aware that the previous government has been allocating money towards the project. We have to go back and review how this money was used. This is our top priority and Mombera is the last thing we can forget. We are going to build Mombera,” he said.

But reacting to this, Civil Society Education Coalition, Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe, said they find it regrettable that the budget has failed to make a provision for the construction of Mombera University for the study of animal science.

“We recall that this has been the Tonse campaign promise that the said university would have resources provided immediately the Tonse Alliance gets into government. We therefore, urge government to ensure that the university does not remain forgotten as was the case with the previous regimes. More concrete steps are needed to live up with the promise in the spirit of equitable national development,” he said.

Equally, a movement that has been calling for abolition of quota system has said even though the government cannot honour all pledges at a goal, the university should have been a priority or could have made a commitment towards the same.

The education sector has been allocated the largest portion of the budget at K384.5 billion, which is 21.6 percent of the total budget, representing 5.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

According to the Mlusu, these resources, will cater for wages and salaries of teachers; operations for primary and secondary schools; development projects; and all education subvented organizations such as public universities.

The Mombera University in Mzimba District was planned to harbor faculties of Animal and Veterinary Science; was expected to have 10,000 people including staff and students.

In 2015 the government set aside K100 million that Parliament approved to finance the construction of the university.

That time former president Peter Mutharika said the university would be constructed with funding from Malawi Government and not with any external assistance.

Mombera would be the second university after Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) to be constructed in line of the six universities that the former president late Bingu Wa Mutharika lined up in 2011.

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