- Do not abandon sports projects—former minister
Immediate past minister responsible for sports Francis Phiso has asked the newly-elected government not to abandon sports projects initiated by the booted out Peter Mutharika administration.
The former minister cited the sports complex earmarked for Njamba Freedom Park, Mzuzu Youth Centre, stadia for local football giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers and reintroduction of physical education in school.
In an interview yesterday, Phiso sounding cool and calm, said: “Everything has its own time. It is unfortunate that I am leaving at a time when we were initiating and working on a number of projects.
“My plea to the incoming government is that they should not abandon projects that were initiated by the previous government because they are not for me nor are they for the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party], but the nation.
“Having said that, I wish the new government and whoever will succeed me all the best.”
The former minister described his one-year stint as a mixed bag.
He said: “We came in at a time when the country was struggling financially and the political impasse resulting in demonstrations. There is also the Covid-19 pandemic which did not spare the sports industry.
“But towards the end, the situation kind of improved and things were getting better. We set the ball rolling on the construction of a sports complex, which will include a netball court by identifying a contractor so too the Mzuzu Youth Centre.”
Phiso also cited the launch of the stadia projects for Bullets and Wanderers.
“So, I would have loved to see to it that these projects were completed. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that my successor will continue from where I left,” he said.
The former minister also hopes that the process to hire a full-time national netball team, Under-20 and Under-17 national football coaches will be completed.
However, reacting to Phiso’s call, Malawi Congress Party secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said: “Ordinarily, the government spokesperson would have been the right person to comment on the issue, but since there is none at the moment, what I can say is that some of these projects were political and we will not be doing the nation good by committing to complete political projects.
“Nevertheless, we will analyse the projects and determine the way forward.”