Communities surrounding Songwe Border in Karonga have called on Karonga District Council (KDC) to consider constructing a modern day standard Bus Depot that befits the area the status as Malawi’s first entry point to other countries.
The call was made following a Media Tour that the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace conducted with members of the Press from the district in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Mwakaboko to appreciate development projects and inequalities in the communities.
In an interview Area Development Committee (ADC) Chairperson for Mwakaboko Edward Chitete, said the current makeshift bus depot at the border is too small and paints the border in bad light to visitors who enter into the country.
Adding, due to the increasing numbers of Malawian flocking to Tanzania to buy goods a number of Bus Companies have introduced new roots to the border to meet the demand of customers hence the call for a depot.
“Songwe is the face of Malawi when visitors are coming through our border as well as to Malawians who come from far and go and buy goods to neighboring Tanzania hence we are asking for a modern depot to be constructed to match the booming cross-border trade.” He said.
Concurring with Chitete, Principal Group Village Headman Mwangulukulu, said his area faces a lot of inequalities in as far as the distribution of resources is concerned from various sectors saying a lack of a proper bus depot is one of the challenges that the communities are facing in accessing social services.
However Director for Planning and Development (DPD) for Karonga District Council David Gondwe, while admitting of not having any plans on paper to construct a depot at the border but the Council were exploring ways of modernizing satellite towns that are within the district.
“While we are not putting a time frame at this moment in time, but I am reassuring the communities at Songwe that as a Council our plans are to develop satellite towns through having modern urban facilities which include markets and depots thereby providing better urban services to our people.” Articulated Gondwe.
With financial support from Norwegian Church Aid CCJP has implemented the 5 year Enhancing Social Accountability In Local Governance To Reduce Inequality For An Inclusive Malawi Project in TA Wasambo and TA Mwakaboko in the district.