By Jordan Simeon Phiri
The Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) has revealed plans to use the Karonga Northwest by-election slated for March 30 as a litmus test aimed at bringing back the lost glory of a party that once boasted of about 36 Parliamentarians in the august house to consolidate development in the northern region.
AFORD regional governor (North) Denis Mhone made the revelations on Saturday when the party officially unveiled its torch bearer Fwasani Silungwe to electorates at a campaign rally at Ntchowo primary school ground.
Mhone said if the northern region wants to reclaim its lost insatiable desire for development then there is need to strengthen AFORD structures that includes sending Legislatures to Parliament to solidify the region and have one voice to bargain for development.
He said: “Most of tangible developments in the northern region such as the Auction Floors, Mzuzu University and Mzuzu Central Hospital came due to the founder of AFORD, Chakufwa Chihana’s voice through 36 Legislatures who spoke with one voice.
“This is the right time for the region to revamp the party through this by-election so that come 2025 the whole northern region should reclaim all parliamentary seats and develop the region’s infrastructure”.
Mhone further said that the solution of the challenges the constituency is facing lies in the hands of Silungwe whom he touted as the area’s homeboy and development oriented with vast experience in community work.
On his part, village headman Elia Mwakasangila lamented that most school blocks, teachers’ houses and bridges in the area are in bad state and need urgent.
Taking his turn, Silungwe who is also Mbande area development committee (ADC) chairperson told the sizeable gathering that his strength lies in the fact that he has worked with various nongovernmental organisations in development work for 27 years and right now he is already in the local development planning setup.
“My work involves interacting with chiefs to identify areas of need. That means when I am elected, I will not have challenges in utilizing development funds to bring social amenities,” he said.
The seat fell vacant last month when the then Parliamentarian succumbed to covid 19 at Chitipa District Hospital.
Meanwhile, in Karonga, about 10 candidates have collected nomination forms which will be presented to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on Monday, March 8. About 51, 000 voters are expected to cast their votes on March 30.