Delays to shift Phalombe Boma to Migowi Trading Centre are not only denying residents basic facilities but also investment from the private sector, district commissioner Atanazio Chibwana has decried.
Five years ago, government hinted at the relocation because geological studies show that the present location of Phalombe District headquarters is prone to disasters such as the 1991 napolo (avalanche).
However, Chibwana on Friday told locals during a community outreach meeting organised by Institute for Parliamentary Support in Africa (Ipsa) in Phalombe North East Constituency that things were moving at a snailâ€™s pace; hence, both businesspeople and development partners were not sure whether to invest in the ill-fated location or the new site.
Meanwhile, Phalombeâ€™s 346 639 population has no district hospital and reliable road system since Phalombe was delinked from Mulanje in the late 1990s. Presently, they have to do with a health centre with no theatre and the Zombaâ€“Jaliâ€“Phalombe-Chitakale Road tarmac whose construction stalled.
During the Ipsa community outreach, aimed at connecting people with their parliamentarians and local government, the constituents said good roads and hospital were not an option.
According to Phalombe North East MP Jonas Thamanga, who sits on the Health and Transport committees of Parliament, it is pathetic that nothing is happening even though government budgets for the road and a hospital almost every year.
This year, government identified the Arab Bank for Economic Development (Badea) to fund the 102km road while the national budget has set aside K100 million for the health facility.
According to Ipsa executive director Kimberly Smiddy, the outreach, funded by the US government, aims to support MPs to be better connected to their constituents. The locals thanked Ipsa for bringing them together with their MPs and district council officials in an interaction like no other.