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President Ali and team visited Mocha Arcadia on Saturday, 11 September. It was the most repulsive public meeting I have ever attended. The entire planning and organising of this meeting spoke to arrogance, ignorance and lack of civility. This sitting Member of Parliament, who resides in the said community received a phone call from a resident on Friday morning, informing her about the meeting. While an invitation was extended for me to speak, it was not to speak in the capacity of my office.
Editor, Irfaan Ali and his cabinet did not do anyone any favours. It is the people’s money being used to better their community. There was a lot of talk about development but no real sustainable development. An agro-processing facility was requested by a resident because there are many female entrepreneurs in the community. The president’s response was that they don’t need that but a storage bond.
A facility to process products at an increased pace is real development. Who is best positioned to know what they need than the people themselves?
He spoke about development happening in areas around Mocha that will boost development in Mocha, but trickle-down and by-the-way economics can never bring real benefits to the people of Mocha Arcadia. Mocha Arcadia needs sustainable development in the community itself.
When asked about the subvention for the NDCs on an equitable basis, the President proceeded to attack the Village Chairman, the people’s representative.
Ali spoke about love and unity and Jesus at the meeting but clearly disrespected the NDC and all of the people there. The Chairman’s concerns were as legitimate as everyone else’s. He should have been treated with due dignity.
When the Chairman made known at the meeting that the council was not even given the courtesy of communication when government officials are visiting the area, Ali’s response was to deflect and shout that they can walk into any community at any time, completely ignoring the elected bodies that govern at the local level.
How can the PPP make claims to democracy and good governance and not be inclusive and respectful of the people’s local representatives?
The chairman asked for a bobcat to help with the maintenance of infrastructure in the village, but Ali retorted that “next you will want to ask for fuel too”.
To say that president’s arrogance was on full display is an understatement. He even advised the people not to worry about large-scale agriculture, but to get small plots of land and look for more yields, clearly sending the message that big real estate is only good for some people and not others.
A villager suggested at the meeting that there should be a secondary school in or near Mocha because of the growing population density, but Ali say no, the government is going to build it in Prospect. Prospect is already being serviced by the Covent Garden School.
The only promises that were made to the community by the government were the upgrading of the small ball field and the Barnwell North road. Cemetery road was budgeted for in the 2022 budget.
Editor, if the PPP administration continues to operate in such disrespectful and dismissive manner in some communities and their leaders, then definitely their intention is to kill local government democracy. The PPP’s behaviour is a threat to local, regional and national governments.
Nima Flue- Bess, MP