"... alleged misleading of President Chakwera on the K9.4bn swimming pool project"
The Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has demanded immediate dismissal of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Ulemu Msungama, for allegedly misleading President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera on the MK9.4 billion world class swimming pool project.
The government intends to construct the world-class swimming pool at the Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Lilongwe.
But the development has riled many stakeholders, including CDEDI, which argues that a swimming pool is not a priority area to invest in at a time the nation is grappling with unprecedented suicide cases among the youths.
Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times on Tuesday, CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa said Malawi is faced with a number of challenges in the health, education and economic sectors; hence, it would be unimaginable for the government to spend such amounts on a luxurious sports complex, which he feared could soon become a white elephant, and a drain for our hard-earned taxes.
"CDEDI has learnt with shock reports that the Malawi Government through the Ministry of Sports intends to construct a MK9.4 billion world class swimming pool. It is uncalled for, for a well-meaning leader, to invest such a colossal amount in a project that will benefit a few when the same government is elusive on the future of the one million jobs the youth were promised; when the country's cities and towns have bad road networks; and when the health and education systems are falling apart," he said.
"It is against this background that CDEDI believes that the current minister of Youth and Sports, Hon Ulemu Msungama, is giving Chakwera wrong advice. Malawi does not need a world-class swimming pool as Msungama wants both the President and the voters to believe. We need facilities like the St John of God's Centre that should provide sporting, counselling and guidance to our youths," added Namiwa.
The CDEDI boss has since demanded the dismissal of Msungama from the Cabinet and announce the "discontinuation of this insult to the majority of Malawian youths who seek decent livelihood opportunities".
Namiwa said it is surprising to note that Msungama has chosen to mislead President Chakwera on what the youths in Malawi are looking for.
"Malawi youths need the one million jobs hence our call for the release of the much-awaited new cabinet so that there is someone to champion the creation of one million jobs. Malawi youths need adequate spaces in primary and secondary schools as well as in its colleges. Malawians need community playgrounds fitted with counselling facilities across the country to avert the surging cases of suicides," he emphasized.
Namiwa warned that should the government proceed with its decision to construct the swimming pool, CDEDI would not hesitate to mobilize the youth to stand up and refuse to be used as pawns.
He urged Chakwera to order the discontinuation of the project to avoid confirming speculations that some Malawi Congress Party officials have direct financial interests in the project.
Msungama could not be immediately reached for a comment.