I took a walk on the morning of Monday September 21 2015 from Number Seven Henderson Street, which is National Bank of Malawi (NBM) Towers, across the famous Victoria Avenue down past Chayamba Building into Haile Selassie Road, past the shops ranging from electronics, hardware and clothing.
It was one of those rare moments that one enjoys such long walks down our streets because of deprivations of such opportunities for reasons which includes the demands of corporate life with its multitudes of meetings, conferences, team discussions, assignments and deadlines. Besides, of late, one is just inclined to be put off walking the streets because of the hassle and bustle of the chaos of the streets with all the vending that goes on there made worse by the congestion that make getting around the city not a pleasant experience.
The stroll, rather the brisk walking down the streets on the day, was a different experience in a long time.
For starters, the streets were clean: no garbage or litter in sight. Most significantly for me, the streets were also empty of any vendors except for a few airtime peddlers here and there. I felt proud to be a Blantyre City Central Business District (CBD) citizen.
On my way back to Number Seven, Henderson Street, I stopped over by Top Man and Footwear Centre to greet and congratulate my friends Mr Latif and Rafiq Hajat, respectively, for living and working in a clean and organised city and environment.
I should quickly hasten to congratulate and say kudos to my esteemed learned friend, mayor Noel Chalamanda for leading the city of Blantyre in this quest for renewal and rejuvenation. I feel most proud of the commendation that my friends from Club Africana in Lilongwe usually shower upon us Blantyrians about the astuteness of our mayor.
It personally gives me enormous pride because I am part of the mayor’s Keep Blantyre Clean and Green Campaign from 2014. I am confident that when the second mayor’s ball is held in the near future, most of Blantyre’s elite corporates and senior citizens, joined by the ambitious and socially upward mobile youths of Blantyre, will join the 2015 mayor’s groove.
Having started the cleanup campaign, let us go the whole hog and also sort out the murky and unsightly business of minibuses clogging up our traffic intersections, especially at Limbe Market.
The sight of such congestion and chaos make Blantyre a less attractive tourist proposition.
One also hopes that next time we are doing a major road project in the city we will effectively plan and explore ways of diverting the traffic in a manner that avoids creating crippling congestion like the one happening in Limbe because we failed to create a traffic by-pass road that could have gone via the Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) earth station in Soche and Angelo Govea, Chiwembe onto the Chigumula Road.
The heavy congestion in Limbe is a heavy cost to the economy as precious hours of productivity are lost in that snail paced traffic. Our economy right now needs every ounce of productivity.
The city authorities also need to deal decisively with the illegal parking in the city centres of heavy trucks of up to 30 tonnes that park in such streets as Haile Selassie and have now become cement warehouses on wheels.