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New Nkhata Bay jetty stirs standards debate

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Nkhata Bay Central Member of Parliament (MP), Ralph Mhone, has said the newly opened Nkhata Bay jetty is substandard, adding that the biggest ship in the country, MV Ilala, is failing to dock at the jetty.

Mhone, who kept referring to the facility as the so-called jetty, said Ilala failed to dock there on Saturday last week and on Monday this week.

Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango commissioned the jetty in question two weeks ago, with an assurance that the jetty would be in operation for over 20 years.

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“Ilala’s failure to dock at the so-called jetty means that the planning was done without having in mind [the fact] that our biggest ship docks at the said jetty. If Ilala fails to dock at the so-called Nkhata Bay jetty, Nkhata Bay cannot be considered part of the Mtwala Corridor and part of multimodal transport that will be part of our budget for the next 20 years,” Mhone said.

He said he wanted an assurance from Mhango that the government would build a jetty that Nkhata Bay deserves.

“[We want a] jetty that is not less than the one we have at Chipoka, [a jetty that] we have at Chilumba— because those two jetties were designed on multimodal kind of transportation way back in MCP [Malawi Congress Party] days and not like the one that has been built at Nkhata Bay,” he said.

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Mhango, however, went on the offensive and said he commissioned the jetty on behalf of the people of Nkhata Bay, Likoma and Chizumulu islands and not MP for Nkhata Bay Central Constituency.

“The jetty that I am referring to is a permanent structure and it will last for[sic]many years. Beyond that, Ilala never failed to dock at Nkhata Bay jetty, only that the day it came, it came at night and the captain did not want to take chances and that is why he docked the following morning at the jetty in question. Therefore, to say in this House that Nkhata Bay has no jetty is very unfortunate coming from the learned man. It is sad,” Mhango said.

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