Traditional Authority Malemia said since the dawn of independence, people in the area have been facing transport challenges due to lack of bridges in several rivers making it difficult to cross to villages on the other side of the river during the rainy season.
He made the remarks on Saturday when the aspiring parliamentary candidate for Zomba – Malosa, Grace Kwelepeta officially opened and handed over two timber-deck bridges she constructed for the community worth K2 million.
“Being the most hard to reach area in the district, I personally acknowledge receipt of the two bridges on behalf of all chiefs from this area which have been constructed with personal resources from shadow MP Grace Kwelepeta. The bridges will address the challenges communities especially learners have been facing during the rainy season,” he said.
The Traditional leader said education of children has always been compromised during the rainy season because learners were not able to cross three rivers to reach the school, saying this resulted into absenteeism of learners.
Group Village Headman Kasonga thanked the aspiring candidate for coming to their rescue, noting that on top of contributing to absenteeism, lives of children were at risk of being lost in their attempt to cross the rivers when their banks had flooded.
He said since independence, road network in the area has been poor because of shortage of bridges affecting communities to transport their crop produce to Songani Market.
Malemia Area Development Committee (ADC) Chairperson, Peter Magwira commended the shadow MP for involving local governance structures in the construction of the two bridges, saying that she had demonstrated a clear understanding of decentralization whereby development projects are determined by the locals themselves.
He said involvement of various local development committees like the ADC was the only way to go in the implementation of all development projects in any area. He, therefore, hailed the aspiring candidate for the initiative.
Kwelepata said she decided to construct the two bridges in the area after noticing that no elected leader has ever considered the area with such infrastructure.
“If my memory serves me right, the past eight members of parliament who have served in this constituency, no one has ever considered improving the transport sector in terms of good road network through the construction of bridges,” she pointed out.
“The foot bridges in the area have never been improved causing no vehicle to reach the other side of the area from Songani Market,” the Shadow MP he added.
Kwelepata asked members of the DPP to support all female candidates, including herself, who are aspiring to contest, saying they have potential to develop the country because they know problems facing people as women.
After official opening and launching of the bridge projects, Kwelepeta donated blankets to elderly people at Mpungulira Primary School in the same area, saying she decided to distribute the blankets to the elderly to protect them from the biting cold in winter.