Citizen of Likoma launches new wave of politics in Malawi

Christopher Ashems Songwe is an accomplished Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Service Management and Computer Forensics Specialist from Likoma District of Malawi. He was born-and-bred on the Island of Likoma where he wants to revolutionize politics.

In 2013 Christopher, responding to the call of his people, decided to become their substantive MP and represent them under the banner of the Malawi Congress Party — MCP.

#TheAfricanDream blog caught up with this aspiring MP to learn more about his political aspirations. We found out that in the early 80s, Christopher left the Island of Likoma for the mainlands of Malawi in pursuit of further education. It was while working in search of a better life that he observed first-hand the growing concerns and increasing levels of poverty and strife faced by people across the country and on the Islands of Chizumulu as well as Likoma.

His attempts to play a major role in alleviating some of these problems led him to become shadow MP of Likoma where he understudied the presiding parliamentarians, Hon Dr. George Nga Ntafu (2004-2009) and Hon O. Anita Thundu (2009 -2014). After consultations with his advisors this, Ashems received their backing to run for election under the mantra “Yearning for Economic Transformation, Unity, and Development to Infinity (YETUDI)” for Chizumulu and Likoma Islands. The theme’s abbreviation stems from the Nyanja word “Yetu” which means “Yes” and “Yetudi” meaning “Yes, Indeed”. Yetudi is the most popularly used word amongst the Nyanja-speaking people of Chizumulu and Likoma Islands.

The aspiring Member of Parliament who is now ready to take the bull by the horn says when elected, his agenda for the next five years as shown in his campaign manifesto will be to improve the current distressful state of affairs on the Islands of Chizumulu and Likoma and set an example that can be replicated across Malawi.

In his own words, Christopher says he is ‘very unhappy with the poor conditions of health care accompanied by an acute shortage of critical medicines and insufficient numbers of trained health care professionals’, and is determined to bring about change for the better in that sector and all other aspects of living in his constituent.

On education, the YETUDI-man says the unacceptable teacher-to-pupil ratios, acute shortage of training and learning materials worsened by poor housing conditions for teachers have severely impacted the delivery of educational service to his people.

All of these issues result in poor learning conditions and low pupil graduation ratio from basic, elementary through to tertiary education. With the support of everyone willing to help, I intend to spend the next 5 years working to change this.’

Delving further into his manifesto, Christopher responds to my question on transportation by saying ‘the Islands are cut-off from the mainland, which results in essential goods such as food and other necessities not being readily available or sold at exorbitant prices. When elected, it will be one of my priorities to fix the transport bottleneck.’ He continues to say, ‘I believe that change for the better is possible. All that is missing are sound policies and political will to adopt and implement workable and sustainable solutions.

This blog asked the aspiring MP how he intends to bring to fruition these and other agendas outlined in his manifesto for the people of Likoma District, to which he answered: ‘In order for this change to happen and be seen at grassroots level, poverty and developmental policies must be implemented with the participation and involvement of the people concerned.’

‘Policies, plans, and their implementation must be people-centered if the result is to reflect the aspirations and needs of the people. People must own, drive and shape poverty alleviation and development policies for the betterment of Chizumulu and Likoma Islands’, he adds. Songwe says he feels so passionate about his resolve to serve his people and nation that he can no longer continue to watch from the sidelines.

‘I want to serve as the bridge through which the needs and aspirations of the people of Chizumulu and Likoma Islands are effectively and consistently communicated to the National Assembly, policy makers, development partners and international donors so that sustainable programs are implemented for the benefit of the current and future generations.’

For this quest for transformation to succeed, a lot of work has to be done, implying a strong need for a well-organized grassroots to ensure that all voices are brought to the fore, issues identified and discussed amongst the people of the Islands to find collective solutions. This is why the aspiring MP believes he needs the help of all citizens from the Islands living everywhere in the world to support his agenda because ‘we as Malawians deserve better. The much-needed change will only come about if we all get involved and worked at it.’
‘I am sure that you will agree with me that it will not be possible for me alone to pull this off. I am therefore inviting you to get involved in this quest to help make a difference by way of support, whether it be financial, material, time, skills, talents, guidance and even through moral support for this campaign. As part of being accountable to our supporters, a draft itemized budget can be made available to all on request’, says Mr. Christopher Songwe in his appeal for support.
To uphold the principles of transparency and accountability, team YETUDI says ‘all donations made to their cause will be used towards their campaign and in instances where donors prefer their donations to be channelled into specific aspects of this campaign, they will be provided with documentary evidence of how their funding is spent while such documents will be made publicly available to all.’

To donate to this Malawian cause, email: friendsofsongwe@sunrizefutures.com or text/call +265 (0) 993 728 501. We will keep you posted on the efforts of Mr. Christopher A. Songwe and asks that you feel free to personally contact him at songweac@gmail.com

Written by Oral Ofori

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