By Patrick Botha and Luzily Chiponde
Minister of Energy, Atupele Muluzi has described Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) as a game changer for the country’s economic development and improved rural livelihoods.
He was speaking when he officially switched on Bukala Power Line which has been constructed under MAREP-Phase 8 in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Timbiri in Nkhata Bay.
“Energy provision to rural areas is a game changer as it triggers economic growth on a micro level,” Muluzi stated.
“At the moment only 11 per cent of Malawians are connected to electricity that was why government through my Ministry was expanding energy connection to the most rural populations.
Apart from domestic use electricity also creates suitable environment for businesses such barbershops, hair dressing saloon, maize meals, carpentry and welding,” he said.
Muluzi who is Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) Alliance Presidential running mate said energy was a necessity to the country’s economic growth macro and micro levels.
TA Timbiri applauded government for the successful implementation of the project.
“This is a dream come true for the people of my area. We hear that some rural areas in the country are connected to electricity through MAREP. We have witnessed a rebirth of development in my area,” he said.
Muluzi later conducted whistle stop rallies at Mpamba and Nkhata Bay Boma where he paid a special tribute to late Orton Chiluli Chirwa, late Vera Chirwa and late Aleke Kadonaphani Banda as true icons of the country who are less celebrated.
“Late Orton Chirwa is actually the true founding father of Malawi Nation. He is the one who invited Kamuzu Banda from England to lead this nation. Chirwa was a very brilliant mind,” he pointed out.
Muluzi paid tribute to March 3, 1959 State of Emergency Martyrs’ whom he said fiercely fought the white supremacy. He said most of the Martyrs’ were sons and daughters of Nkhata Bay.
“In short, we can’t talk of a free Malawi without mentioning Nkhata Bay. It was unfortunate that for many years no real development has taken place in the northern region in particular Nkhata Bay District in appreciation of the martyrs,” Muluzi added.
He urged people of Nkhata Bay to vote for Prof. Peter Mutharika during the forth coming fresh residential poll which is tentatively scheduled for June 23, 2020.