Misunderstanding has ensued over the artificial turf that was removed from Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Despite the Ministry of Labour Youth, Sports and Manpower Development recommending that the turf be installed at Zingwangwa Youth Crentre in Blantyre following a request by Blantyre City South legislator Allan Ngumuya, Weekend Nation has established that the turf is in the hands of Minister of Information and Communications Technology Henry Mussa.
A letter from the ministry dated March 9 2018, signed by Principal Secretary (PS) Joseph Mwandidya and addressed to Ngumuya, which we have seen, states that the old turf be installed at Zingwangwa Youth Centre.
Part of the letter reads: “I would like to inform you that the approval has been granted for you to collect the old artificial turf when removed from the stadium to Zingwangwa Youth Centre in Blantyre as per your request.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and offer towards development of sports and livelihood of the youth in the country.”
But Weekend Nation established on Monday this week that the turf is at Mussa’s residence in Mtupanyama Village, T/A Kadewere in Chiradzulu.
The minister uses part of the turf as a mat and carpet during Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) functions in his area.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Mussa said he collected the turf after it was discarded by Kamuzu Stadium management.
Asked if he followed procedures when obtaining the turf, Mussa said: “I am telling you that it was thrown away, how can I follow procedures?”
“Do you want it?…because ndikhoza kukugayilani [I can give you] part of it.”
Stadium manager Ambirike Mwaungulu referred this reporter to the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development.
The PS expressed ignorance on the whereabouts of the turf.
“What I know is that the artificial turf was in bad state, it could not be used and we threw it away. I don’t know where it is now,” said Mwandidya.
He, however, said he is not aware of the recommendation he purportedly made in writing that the turf should be installed at Zingwangwa Youth Centre.
“The initial idea was to install it at Kamuzu Stadium upper ground, but it failed because it was in bad shape,” said Mwandidya.
However, the upper ground in question which government gave to Hockey Association of Malawi (HAM) to construct a stadium, was already allocated an artificial turf by the International Hockey Federation (IHF) after winning an award on international youth development.
Meanwhile, Ngumuya believes that government’s U-turn was politically motivated as it happened after he joined UTM and has vowed to seek court redress on the matter.
“When I left DPP for UTM, that is when government changed its stand to give the artificial turf to Mussa. Now, this is very bad because the artificial turf was supposed to benefit people of Zingwangwa not me.
“I am going to court very soon because it was allocated to my constituency after I followed the necessary procedures. I will pursue this matter until I get it back for my people,” he said.