People in Nsanje, led by their traditional leaders, are up in arms against the China Railway company which the government has awarded a contract to construct the Marka-Bangula Nsanje Railway.
They say they do no not believe that the company is the right one to undertake such a mammoth project considering the shoddy and substandard work it has carried out on the Marka-Nsanje road which suffered serious damaged recently during the Cyclone Ana flooding which was largely due to poor works on the road.
The chiefs and the people made their reservations knowns at an interface with China Railway 20 officials in Nsanje District on 30 March 2022 where chiefs such as Senior Chief Malemia, Chimombo, Ndamera, Ngabu and Nyachikadza were in attendance alongside councillors and Nsanje Police Station Officer in Charge.
In their remarks, the chiefs and their subject vehemently rejected China Railway 20 as the company that will undertake the project.
Speaking on behalf of fellow chiefs, the subjects and district authorities, Senior Chief Malemia said they are not against the project but they do not believe that China Railways 20 is the kind of firm that will give them the quality of the railway they desire.
“What we are saying…we’ve been crying for decades to say we need a rail line that used to be here in the days of our forefathers. Now we want to thank the present government, the Tonse Alliance under the leadership of His Excellency the President Dr Lazarus MacCarthy Chakwera. They have come up with a plan to say we want to rebuild this railway line. We are all happy”.
“None of us is here to say we don’t want this project to start. It would be madness on our part. We want the project. But we have an issue with the contractor that has been selected to do the construction of the rail. This is where all the people are saying now when we look at the construction of the road that is substandard as it were, will they do a better job when it comes to do the rail line. So, this is where we have a problem,” explained the Senior Chief.
Malemia said as a council, they have come up with a resolution where they have tasked the District Commissioner to write a petition which the chiefs and their subjects will take to the Minister (of Transport) and other relevant authorities to ask for the removal of the China Railway 20 from the project.