Lazarus Chakwera visits Northern Region
By Feston Malekezo & Samuel Kalimira:
President Lazarus Chakwera arrived in the Northern Region Thursday.
Chakwera, who was in the company of First Lady Monica, was welcomed by Cabinet ministers and leaders of political parties that are in the Tonse Alliance, who waited for him at Shoprite Round-about in Mzuzu.
Traditionally, the President is welcomed by singing and dancing party loyalists.
That was not the case Thursday.
And, in a rare fashion, the President did not speak to those that gathered at the round-about, only waving at the people before proceeding to the State Lodge.
Speaking to reporters, government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu said this was a deliberate move as the President is in the region to cheer those that have been afflicted by natural disasters, hence dancing and singing could not be appropriate.
Kunkuyu said Chakwera will today visit Karonga District, where a prolonged dry spell has left rice and maize farmers destitute.
Heavy rains also damaged some crops.
“The President has been to the Southern Region, where lives have been lost and properties destroyed. He is here to see for himself what the dry spell and heavy rains have done to the agriculture sector,” Kunkuyu said.
Speaking separately, Traditional Authority Kilupula, whose area is one of those affected, said it is good that the President should see for himself, instead of depending on reports on the situation.
Kilupula said there are fears of hunger following the prolonged drought and heavy rainfall that followed.
“When we talk about it, people may think we are exaggerating. We are happy that he has come to appreciate the problem himself and we are ready to share with him information about the impact,” Kilupula said.
Chakwera is expected to visit people from three villages of Kiwe Chiwowola, Mwangolera and Mwakabaye in the district.
Earlier, Karonga District Council Director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Raphael Mkisi said the drought was one of the longest in history.
He said it has affected about 28,000 rice and maize farmers.
At least 8,700 hectares of maize and about 10,200 hectares of rice have been affected by the dry spell.