Campaign pledges not fulfilled in Chiradzulu


The May 2014 tripartite elections were the hotly contested elections which saw constituents deciding their leaders based on issues not their proximity to the people.

The choice of electorates was not a matter of theoretical expectations motivated by the political environment but it was a matter of actual decision making aimed at changing the policy direction. It was based on the electorate preferences even if the candidate was not closest to their ideal point.

In Chiradzulu Central Constituency, there were nine independent candidates and five candidates that represented their political parties; United Democratic Front, Democratic Progressive Party, Nation Labour Party, Peoples Party and Malawi Congress Party.


The race was tight that needed careful planning and strategy to win the hearts of the electorate.

One independent candidate, Mahomed Hanif Osman, carried the day on May 20, after amassing over 13,000 votes out of 40,507 valid votes.

Osman, popularly known as OG Issa, shaped his campaign message promising to donate his entire parliamentary salary for the five year-term in office. This money was meant to go towards the development of the constituency.


Osman also pledged to pay school fees for all the orphans and vulnerable children in the constituency. The parliamentarian went further to convince the electorate that once voted into office, he shall embark on a project of constructing Early Childhood Development Centers (ECD) across the constituency.

Osman wanted all toddlers to spend their infant years in ECDs where they will be taught elementary studies before their transition to primary school. He said then, that the initiative would be financed by his parliamentary salary which is yet to trickle to the constituency.

Besides that, the parliamentarian said he would construct bridges and complete construction of school blocks left by his predecessor, Philomena Mononga Kasambwe who contested as an independent candidate.

For those projects, Osman said he would implement them through Local Development Fund (LDF) and Constituent Development Fund (CDF). From the 14 candidates, the constituents had to believe in Osman whose character in politics was very unique.

He stood both on the political and church podiums pledging to give away his salary to charity. The community looked at him as a saviour who would get them out from the bondage of poverty.

Osman is a business tycoon, a sportsman who has been sponsoring netball in the country for many years. His entry into politics did surprise many people. Those that heard about his announcement into politics were equally baffled. They could not have clear answers as exactly what he was up to considering his background and approach to politics. His approach of reaching to people with a charity hand won the hearts of many citizens.

He now has everything he wanted, the power to govern, and the parliamentary salary he promised to give away to charity.

However, almost two years now, Osman, the Member of Parliament for Chiradzulu Central Constituency has never set his foot in the area, leaving his people wondering his whereabouts.

Osman has not said anything regarding construction of the ECDs neither has he communicated to his ward councillors or Area Development Committee members.

Prior to the 2014 tripartite elections, several civil society organisations enhanced the prospects for peaceful, accountable and credible elections through nationwide, issue-based civic education campaign.

This resulted into citizens looking at the local government to represent their interests and built strong expectations to see the long-awaited benefits of sustained interaction with local officials on issues that matter in their daily lives.

Having that in mind, with the parliamentarian now almost completing half of his term in office without visiting the constituency, the citizens believe they were duped.

This has prompted members of various development committee and other interest groups in the area to team up and summon the legislator for questioning over his behaviour for dumping the people when they needed him most.

Chairperson for Transparent Accountability Committee (Tac) in the district, Milton Sukali, said the community members have for a long time been inviting the MP to the area to discuss issues of development but he has been turning down the invitation.

Sukali, who is also Secretary for Wonga Area Development Committee in Sub Traditional Wonga, said: “Despite that, there is a conducive working environment between the community members and our ward councillors, we have not been given a convincing response as to why our MP has been shunning us.

“There are several development projects that we would like to be doing as a family with our MP present, but it has not been the case because of his unavailability to the constituency,” he said.

Sukali said several orphaned children have been sent back from school for failing to pay K400 per term which contributes to the watch man’s salary.

Despite this being the case, he said all primary schools in the area are allocated a fund under the Malawi School Improvement Programme (MSIP) aimed at supporting vulnerable children and training for teachers and head-teachers on a range of themes including school management and leadership, literacy and numeracy, HIV and Aids action planning, child-centred approach to teaching and learning and inclusive practice particularly in relation to girls and children with special educational needs.

These were some of the challenges Sukari said needed the MP and the councillors to address together.

But the community members led by the councillors and Tac managed to track down how the schools in the area have been using CIP and discovered that over K109,000 was abused and the school head and committee that swindled the money paid it back.

Daniel Chinsewu, Chairperson for Wonga Village Development Committee, said the community has planned to summon the MP again in April.

“We are interested to find out when he would start paying school fees for vulnerable children using his salary. They were several pledges that were made that include completing construction of some school blocks at PIM primary school,” said Chinsewu.

The Daily Times tried several times calling Osman but he could not pick up his phone yesterday.

However, the communities’ stand to summon augurs well with suggestions by civil society groups that constituents should hold their representatives accountable for the promises they make during campaign.

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