Two members of Parliament for Mzimba South and Luwerezi, Makwenda Chunga and Alice Deliwe Ngoma respectively have blamed their constituents for the lack of water in the two constituencies.
The constituents had asked the legislators to bail them out of the acute shortage of water in the two constituencies.
The traditional leaders and the residents made the request last week at an interface in Mzimba South which was organised by the Christian Service Committee (CSC) under its Right to Food Project where duty bearers were summoned to answer questions from citizens.
“We need a dam here. We are overpopulated and the water table is low. The health centre has no water and the staff have to get water in buckets and pour into the tank.
“Animals are suffering too. They have to move a long distance just to get water at one of the dams which is also drying up,” one of the residents Dyson Banda said.
Responding to the water crisis in the two places, Ngoma said the communities themselves were to blame for the shortage of water because of their wanton cutting down of trees which has left the water source depleted.
“Yes, water problem is big in this area and it also extends to my constituency in Luwerezi. Water problem is affecting everyone in the country. I blame the chiefs and you the community for this problem. You have depleted the forest which protected the water source here. You have polluted the intake of the water source. You have cut down trees for charcoal and timber.
“Stop cutting down trees. Formulate by-laws so that every village head and his people plant trees. Having a dam here is not a solution,” said Ngoma.
On his part, Makwenda called on civil society organisations to empower the people to replace, the destroyed environment. He then suggested that the two of them should use constituency development fund to construct a structure that would protect the water source in the area.
The villagers also trashed government’s centralised selection of Farm Input Subsidy Programme beneficiaries this year. They argued, that the selection has been worse this year because undeserving people appeared on the list and asked government to revert to chiefs for the selection.
They also asked government to set standard prices for their tomatoes which they grow in large quantities in the area.
Mzimba District Agriculture Development Officer, Lexter Munthali, agreed with the people and added that they should not allow tomatoes from other countries to invade the markets in Malawi.
CSC Project Officer, Stiveria Ndala, said she was impressed with the people’s contributions because they exercised their right to food which was her organisation’s concern. She said the Right to Food Project is funded by Dan Church Aid and is aimed at strengthing the capacity of rural poor communities particularly vulnerable women and child headed households and people living with HIV and Aids to claim their right to food.
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