Member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre City South East Jeffrey Mtelemuka has sparked debate in some parts of his area for absconding development.
This was revealed last Wednesday at Namame Primary School in Soche where the MP was supposed to be a guest of honour at girls' assembly but never showed up.
Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) organised a girls' assembly aimed at discussing issues affecting their lives and education.
According to the NGO, the assembly also served as a platform for girls from Blantyre City South East constituency to ask their MP to support their bid to compel Parliament to review the marriage age bill from 15 to 21 in the sitting of Parliament which commences today. But to everyone's surprise, the MP gave a last minute excuse that he was locked up in a meeting despite his earlier confirmation to attend the function.
However, the function rolled into action around 2pm, forcing District Education Manager for Blantyre urban Ruth Msamati to act a guest of honour.
"We wanted our MP to help us fight for the review of the marriage age bill in the National Assembly. But he has dealt us a big blow because he did not show up," said one of the participating girls.
When Mtelemuka's last minute blow was announced to the audience, there was some murmuring among the participants.
The most interesting thing was to note that the meeting attracted some com¬munity members who were just loitering outside the school campus waiting for the arrival of the honourable MP.
"The people you are seeing loitering around are not part of the girls' assembly but they have heard about Mtelemuka's coming to the area so they want to ask him about development. Most of them claim that they haven't seen him set his feet in this area since he won his seat, so may be today will be their first opportunity to set their eyes on him," said a senior community member.
But Mtelemuka defended his move, saying he was in a meeting and that he would be available at the function around 4pm which was past the time of them functioning.
Another community member, who was not part of the girls' meeting but present at the school, said he wanted to ask his MP about the promise of the road construction between Limbe and Manje which is in sorry state.
"You cannot believe it if I tell you that the first and last time I saw my MP was on the ballot paper in 2009. I thought I would remember him through his prom¬ise of constructing Limbe-Manje road or renovation of Namame health shelter for child immunisation but to no avail," he bemoaned.
Instead, on behalf of Education Ministry, Msamati assured the girls that they will try their best to fight for the review of marriage bill in Parliament.
"Ministry of Education's motto is "Educa¬tion First, Marriage Later" in order to shape our girls into responsible citizens. Be assured that you are not alone in this battle because we are standing with you," she said.
According to GENET Communications Advisor Joyce Mkandawire, Malawian girls want the marriage bill to be re-viewed by Parliament from 15 to 21 in order to allow them to complete at least their secondary school education before getting married.