On behalf of the people of Salima, Nkhota Kota, and Nkhata Bay and on our own behalf we write to apply for development in our districts.
Firstly, we acknowledge that Salima hosts the Malawi Mangoes and Salima Sugar factories where lucky local Malawians are employed and eke out a living. We also acknowledge that Nkhota Kota is host to the second Illovo Sugar estate and factory where lucky Malawians are employed. Illovo Sugar is also encouraging growing of sugarcane by smallholders, thereby economically empowering local communities. We equally acknowledge that Nkhata Bay is home to the Vizara Rubber Estate and the now-decimated Viphya Plantation (wrongly popularly known as Chikangawa Forest) where a few Malawians are employed.
We continue to acknowledge that all the three districts have hospitals (with some drugs and some fuel for backup generators), district secondary schools, some electricity, hardworking police officers, chiefs, pastors, fishermen, prostitutes, herbalists, witches, and wizards.
We acknowledge all these developments to demonstrate that we appreciate the efforts the governments of Nyasaland and Malawi have made targeting us since 1891.
However, we have a serious problem that needs your urgent attention. We will not report that some of the companies mentioned above are not benefitting us as much as we expected them to. Nothing substantive is really trickling down to us. If you don’t believe this come and visit us, in person, to find out for yourselves. You can commission our evaluation and opinion experts in Zomba but we beseech thee not to delegate anyone else; not even your closest and dearest minister.
Not all the money they make is banked in Malawi. Our rich soil is being used to enrich foreign countries, individuals and governments. Why should a company bearing the sacred Malawi name be registered in Mauritius? We have the answer. Those who do know should ask the Malawi Revenue Authority, the Reserve Bank of Malawi or the Anti-Corruption Bureau what a tax haven is. They should also read The Paradise Papers. If you don’t know the Paradise Papers, then you don’t know where cashgate money worldwide is hidden.
What we apply for today relates to the Great Kamuzu Lakeshore Road, also known as the M5. The M5 road is in tatters. The narrow bridges are in tatters. Drivers’, passengers’, and pedestrians’ lives are tattered every week.
You know the status of the road and its trap bridges because you use it once in a very long while. Ministers of government and religion know the problem because we have reported the matter to the relevant authorities several times before but each time, we have hit a very hard wall. Nobody seems to care.
Imagine that every week at least one vehicle plunges into the Kapeska river, registering fatalities. We don’t want to be grisly, but imagine one fatal accident on each of the 15 narrow bridges from Nkhata Bay to Salima every week. It means 780 fatal accidents per annum and over 1 000 preventable deaths.
Experts tell us that, like roads, bridges are extendable. This is exactly what is happening in Blantyre and Lilongwe where some roads are being dualised. So on M5 expand both the road and the bridges. Erect study shoulders.
The Great Kamuzu Lakeshore Road is perhaps the only road in Malawi with temporary military bridges as a permanent feature. We request that the Malawi government should commit to the Great Kamuzu Lakeshore Road as much attention as it commits to other national roads.
Until recently, we did not know why our appeals were falling on deaf ears and blind eyes. But we now know. One senior party official told us in crystal clear language that the road is not being maintained because we vote for the opposition. ‘Where in the world does government support development to people who hate it? Nowhere,’ she asked rhetorically, adding, ‘If you want development, apply for it by supporting the ruling party and the government of the moment’.
Because we urgently want development, we take the senior party official’s advice seriously. So, today, we pledge and swear never to talk to, work with, walk with, commune with, dine with, smile or wink at any member of the opposition. Just repair our road and expand the narrow bridges, and voilà, your future is guaranteed. Just give us a signal.
Actually, our chiefs plan to give you a new title after the road and its bridges are repaired. You will be called Your Excellency Professor Kalonga Dr Peter Arthur Mutharika. How about that?