Out of a number of promises the Tonse Alliance made to develop sports, one year down the line, it has fulfilled only one, the Indoor Sports Complex which is under construction.
However, the Ministry of Youth and Sports says the administration is committed to fulfiling all the other promises.
The yet-to-be fulfilled promises include reintroduction of physical education (PE) in schools, recruitment of district coaches, construction of district sports centres, establishing sports academy and construction of Mzuzu Youth Centre.
The Tonse Alliance administration also promised to launch a new initiative to replace the Presidential Initiative on Sports which they phased out after defeating the Democratic Progressive Party which had raised the sponsorship from K120 million to K400 million per year.
In an interview on Friday, Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama said his ministry has set the tone and commitment to develop sports despite facing challenges.
He said: “Despite several challenges in the period under review, the Ministry of Youth and Sports implemented a number of programmes. Apart from commencing construction of the Griffin Saenda Indoor Sports Complex in Lilongwe, we have bought sports equipment, three boxing rings, athletics equipment, chess equipment, draughts equipment.
“We have also commissioned Sports Council Events Garden; an initiative aimed at helping to raise revenue for the council.”
The minister also cited renovation of Blantyre Youth Centre’s netball, basketball and lawn tennis courts and construction of new volleyball court in partnership with PremierBet, renovation of first phase of BAT ground, perimeter fence, ticketing booths, drainage system and commissioning of the astro turf hockey stadium in Blantyre.
But Msunguma admitted not fulfilling some of the promises.
“We had hurdles along the way. The major challenges were due to Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the ministry failing to implement some programmes. Inadequate funding was also another major challenge,” he said.
Despite not fulfilling most of their promises, sports analysts said it is too early to fault the government.
George Kaudza-Masina said while the Tonse Alliance promises have not been fulfilled, they should be judged after four years.
“Much as most projects have not yet started, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have failed. Expecting the government to fulfil all the promises within a year is not fair considering that they also have other pressing demands for the general welfare of the populace.
“We have seen a commitment from the Tonse Alliance administration to fulfil its promises despite the Covid-19 pandemic as demonstrated by starting of the indoor netball court construction works,” he said.
On his part, Charles Nyirenda said the government needs time, but faulted it for not communicating reasons for delaying.
He said: “I don’t think they have failed as such.
Imagine, they made pledges more or less like issuing statements of intentions, and translating that into action means including what they said on actual infrastructure development plans.
“I don’t know if that has happened because whatever they are going to do has to appear in the budget each year. If they meant what they promised, rather than making sheer political promises, I would expect them to spread out each of the items over the next four years, so that by the time they complete their term in office, they will have finished what they set out to do.
“Of course, some of their plans on sports facilities development could have been derailed by Covid-19, which ate deeply into the government budget, but if that is the case, the government should have communicated.”
Nyirenda has since warned the Ministry of Sports to learn to communicate reasons for not fulfilling pledges, because failure to do so damages the reputation of those who make the promises.
“It is critical to inform the people whenever there are hurdles encountered to complete expressed intentions with action or risk losing public trust,” he said.