A verbal war ensued on Monday between member of Parliament (MP) for Nkhata Bay Central Ralph Mhone (People’s Party-PP) and Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango over the durability of Nkhata Bay Jetty.
Mhango officially launched the jetty at a ceremony attended by government officials, representatives of the contractor Mota-Engil and governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials.
Addressing the media, Mhango backtracked on his earlier statement that the jetty is temporary, stating that they changed scope to ensure they construct a permanent structure.
“We changed the scope. We didn’t want to put up a temporary structure. We decided to have a permanent one. This will shame member of Parliament for this area who told Parliament last week that there is no jetty in Nkhata Bay,” he said.
However, the remarks did not go well with Mhone who said the structure is an insult to the people of Nkhata Bay.
“They have actually destroyed our peninsula. They took soil from the peninsula and put it in the lake. Then they put rocks and concrete on top. We need a durable jetty like the ones at Chilumba [in Karonga] or Chipoka [in Salima],” he said.
Mota-Engil Africa shipping and port management consultant Austin Msowoya said the jetty has a lifespan of at least 20 years.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe,Economic Planning and Development in his proposed budget statement, said government will construct reliable and durable all-weather jetties at Likoma Island, in Nkhata Bay and Nkhotakota.