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Chaponda hits at government critics

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda on Tuesday took a swipe at government critics in the Northern Region and asked them to stop accusing the government of sidelining the region.

Chaponda said that if the North has known meaningful development, it is through the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) leadership, and thus asked the people to be grateful.

He added that such people should stop hallucinating and start looking at the realities around them. Chaponda said: “I therefore wonder the people who say the DPP government starting with [former president] Bingu[ wa Mutharika] has done nothing for the North, when there are visible signs that things are transforming.

Previous governments failed to bring the Karonga-Chitipa Road into reality but DPP did.

“People should learn to be grateful and give credit where it is due. We all remember that not long ago going to Chitipa was a torture,” he said.

But outspoken youth activist in Karonga Steven Simsokwe has hit back at Chaponda, saying his sentiments do not sound like those from a leader.

Simsokwe wondered why Chaponda demands Malawians in the region to be thankful to government when it fulfils its mandate to the people.

Simsokwe has since trashed the Agriculture Minister and asked him to take stock of the major government projects that passed in Parliament recently and cite how many have gone to the North. “It is lame for government leaders to seek acknowledgement when it [government] fulfils its obligation anywhere in the country. Since he is being petty, I will be petty too by asking him to point at how many major projects have come to the Northern Region in recent years,” he queried.

Simsokwe, who in May this year led a group of fellow concerned citizens in a peaceful protest against naming the Karonga-Chitipa Road Bingu Highway, further called on the country’s ruling elite to stop treating people in the Northern Region as second-class citizens.

Chaponda was on Tuesday on a familiarisation tour to Chitipa and Karonga where he inspected projects by the Northern Region Water Board and interacted with members of staff for Karonga Agriculture Development Division (ADD).

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