By Wezzie Gausi:
Minister of Transport and Public Works Jacob Hara has described as cheap politics former president Peter Mutharika’s pledge that his administration would construct an international airport in Mzuzu.
In July 2017, Mutharika visited the proposed site of the project in Lusangazi, where Ministry of Transport officials showed him the proposed designs.
But at a news conference in Lilongwe Wednesday, Hara said that a new airport could not be constructed without conducting a feasibility study.
He said the current administration planned to construct an international airport, named Orton Chirwa, in Mzuzu, an initiative that would start with a feasibility study.
“The launch of the site at Lusangazi area was cheap politics to attract votes by the then president because the ministry has no records of a feasibility study done at the site.
“Now that the President has given an order to start construction works, we have three places at Dunduzu, Ekwendeni and Lusangazi where the ministry would be doing studies to find the right site for the airport,” Hara said.
On road construction standards, Hara warned that contractors would be prosecuted if they do poor work.
Hara said it is sad that most roads in the country are not durable despite the government allocating huge sums of resources towards such projects.
He said government would not tolerate any shortcuts when it comes to the quality of roads in the country.
“What was happening was that most contractors were cutting corners when it came to road construction with an aim of saving money for personal gains.
“So, this time around, we will be prosecuting them and letting the law take its course. The normal durability of a good road is 20 years. So, if any road does not reach those set years, it means there were shortcuts used during construction,” Hara said.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako, speaking at the same news conference, said the current administration would meet the Mzuzu airport promise and others.
“We, as an administration, are being led by our blueprint Malawi 2063 in our plans; so, in the transport and construction sector, we want to see quality roads and buildings in the country.
“We are happy to learn from the Ministry of Transport that they are working on centralising all construction works to have one good standard for the nation,” Kazako.