Politicking with Foundation stones

Recently, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) campaign director Ben Phiri accompanied Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango to lay a foundation stone for the construction of a jetty on Likoma Island District. Sceptics say the project is a campaign bait with just weeks to the May 21 Tripartite Elections. Our Staff Reporter JOHNCHIRWA caught up with Phiri on what is perceived as politics of foundation stones.

Phiri: We need continuity

Q

: During the launch of the port, you said people have to vote for DPP if projects the party initiated are to continue. Are you not politicising government projects?

A

: My statement was that we need to vote back DPP into power because it has initiated so many developments underway. It

is on record that many developments that are initiated by one leader curtailed immediately that President leaves office, which is very wrong. It is not supposed to be like that. My plea to the people is that if we want continued development, let us vote for DPP because tradition and experience have taught us that development is curtailed when one party leaves office. So, the only way to go away with it is to vote for DPP.

Q: Don’t such projects stall because the governing party initiates them for politics’ sake?

A

:No. It is all because of envy and misunderstanding of  development. Development is a continuous process. Many  leaders do not understand that Malawi belongs to Malawians. When development has been initiated, it doesn’t belong to the leader who initiated it. It belongs to Malawians. Now, they stop because they feel that if they continue the project, credit will go to the previous leader, which is wrong. But that’s experience. We can’t go around it until we change our mindset.

Q

: Is that a good reason to re-elect DPP?

A

: Yes, I encourage the people that they should endeavour in whatever they do to make sure that the DPP government continues for continued developments.

Q

: But government has put in place the National Planning Commission (NPC) to oversee continuity of development regardless of whichever political party is in government. Does your argument sound logical and consistent with systems government has put in place?

A

: It’s the DPP administration that initiated the commission. The idea is to have a national agenda where anyone, who wants to become a president, must buy in into the national development agenda that we will have. That will be the only way that we will manage the problem of curtailing developments when the initiator gets out of government.

Q

: What is your take on a general feeling that these foundation stones are campaign tools to amass votes as we move closer to the elections….

A

: Unless someone shows me a stone that has not grown. But in DPP, we lay foundation stones and these translate into projects. There will never be a project without a foundation stone. You cannot have a project without a foundation. This is not politics. So, people should get ready for more stones to be laid and more structures rising up because DPP’s spinal cord is development, nothing more than development. n

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