Calls to divide Mzimba have re-emerged as councillors in the country’s biggest district plan to present a petition during a full council meeting mid this month.
M’mbelwa District Council development committee chairperson Fumu Mdolo, who is also Kasito East Ward councillor, told The Nation on Monday that the decision follows a two-week assessment of the delivery of developments in the district.
“We divided ourselves into three teams to inspect developments in Mzimba North, South and Centre. Our findings reveal that people are still travelling more than 12 kilometres (km) to access basic necessities such as food, water, health and education.
“This is against government’s policy that such services should be be accessible within a six-kilometre radius,” he said.
Mdolo said the councillors are advocating for splitting up the district to ensure development trickles down to the local people.
“Mzimba cannot develop with the way government devolves money to councils. For example, Mzimba is 10 382 square km, almost 576 times the size of Likoma which is 18 square km. Districts like Thyolo, Neno and Phalombe are almost seven times smaller than Mzimba.
“But, apart from using population size, poverty index and other factors, I do not think the geographical size of the district is taken into consideration. For example, in the 2015/16 financial year, we were allocated K243 million (about $333 000) for development while Likoma got K81 million (about $111 000). This does not tally at all if size of the district was considered,” he said.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Mughlabase Mughogho said in an interview on Sunday that government will wait for the full council meeting decision before commenting.
Calls to split the district, are not new. Pressure groups emerged during Bakili Muluzi and Bingu wa Mutharika regimes, asking government for the same.
Senior Chief Mpherembe said the chiefs in the district will also wait for the councillors’ report to make known their stand. n