Election messages get to illegal mining area
By Gloria Mbwana and Wahard Betha
Though the government has declared the gold mining stampede in different areas of the country as illegal, it has not stopped stakeholders carrying sensitization campaigns for next year’s tripartite elections from taking their messages to multitudes of people at the mining sites.
Mining & Trade Review captured a poster by the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) at Dzundi mining centre in the Nanthenje River Banks urging the people who are busy with gold mining operations to take their time to register for the elections.
The Malawi Electoral Commission is conducting the registration exercise in Lilongwe urban and rural starting from July 30 to August 12, 2018 which marks the third phase of the exercise.
Festoon Banda, a vendor at the market centre established at the mining site, said the NICE officials conducted a meeting at the site urging the people to spare time and go to their respective villages to register and vote.
Malawi will hold tripartite elections on May 21, 2019 in which State President Arthur Peter Mutharika of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) faces mounting challenge from opposition candidates including leader of opposition in parliament and President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Lazarous Chakwera, former president Joyce Banda of People’s Party and State Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima who has just launched his United Transformation Movement (UTM).
Chilima has launched his party in all the three regions starting with the Central Region where he held a rally at Masintha CCAP Ground in Kawale, Lilongwe promising good trade policies that will include securing profitable markets for agricultural commodities.
He also pledged to encourage cooperatives and empower more women and the youth to invest in businesses.
The UTM president promised to create employment opportunities for at least one million youths through the resuscitation of factories and companies that closed due to poor government policies.
He also pledged to eradicate power shortages that the country is currently facing.
On the other hand, President Mutharika’s administration is busy enticing voters to give it another term saying it continues to succeed in implementing a number of development projects such as road construction across the country.
The administration cites the construction of the Thyolo-Makwasa-Thekerani-Mankhanga, Zomba – Jali – Phalombe – Chitakale, Kwanyanda – Santhe and Kwanyanda – Kasiya spur, Mzuzu – Nkhatabay, Liwonde – Mangochi, Thabwa – Chitseko – Seven, dual carriageway from area 49 – Area 18 – Parliament Roundabout in Lilongwe city, the Karonga-Songwe Road, Njakwa-Livingstonia, Maselema to Chiladzuru turnoff dual carriage way, Chikwawa – Chapananga – Mwanza, Lilangwe-Chingale – Machinga, Ntcheu – Tsangano-Neno–Mwanza, Jenda – Edingeni, Kawere -Mkanda in Mchinji and Rumphi-Nyika-Chitipa and Hewe Roads as some of the notable road projects it is implementing.
Mutharika’s government also says it has come up with ways to address the prevailing power crisis, which include construction of new power stations on Shire River and a coal fired power station at Kammwamba in Neno.
The government is also facilitating the Malawi – Mozambique and Malawi – Zambia Interconnectors.
In his 2018/19 budget statement, Finance Minister Goodall Gongwe said feasibility studies for the Malawi – Mozambique Interconnector have been completed and the Project is expected to reach completion in 2021.
As for the Malawi-Zambia Interconnector, the feasibility studies are still underway,
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 64 (August 2018).