One of the major developments brought by the 2014 Tripartite Elections was the ushering in of councillors both at district and city council level. This had really brought a lot of relief to the populous as they saw it as a means to an end of their perpetual underdevelopment, which was as result of the absence of councillors.
I am not sure as to what extent people in the districts celebrated the coming of the councillors. But those of us in the cities grinned with joy at the development. As I mentioned in some articles before, we expected, among others, improvements in service provision, and as far as this column is concerned, we expected improvements in sanitation and hygiene in our cities.
I remember that, that time, there were some special celebrations coming out of Blantyre City, because a younger guy had been elected by fellow councillors to lead the team while holding the position of the Mayor of the City of Blantyre. I heard that the guy was an accomplished professional and the fact that he was of our generation offered a lot of hope to most of us who I think are penetrating the top positions, while those who have mentored us are bowing out.
I should say that I really saw hope for Blantyre City if the charisma which the Blantyre City Mayor brought was anything to go by. Several projects were introduced. Those I specifically remember were the ones to do with what I sing—sanitation, hygiene and environmental management.
I cannot specifically remember the terminologies of the projects which were introduced, but I know that one of them was to do with improving sanitation in the city. The other related one was to do with improving the beauty of the city by bringing back its green vegetative cover.
In addition to this, the city had made several efforts to improve the ambient environment of the residential areas by controlling noise pollution, especially those coming out of parties. Talking about parties, Blantyre believes in parties. I once stayed in Nkolokosa A, but the noise pollution due to neighbourhood partying was too much. I was lucky to have secured a stand-alone house in an area full of attached blocks. Now, imagine how many households are affected by these loud music parties. The city quickly moved in, impounding equipment which was the source of the noise pollution.
All these projects made the Blantyre Mayor a darling of its city dwellers and, surely, an envy of fellow mayors.
But I really wonder where all this energy and charisma has gone. Firstly, the media has of late been rife with stories of appalling sanitation in Blantyre, especially in the markets. Pictures of filth, dirty stagnant water and overflowing waste skips seem to be the order of the day. When market vendors threatened to move out, instead of being assured of improvements, the council said vendors are mandated to trade within the markets.
Can I cement my arguments with this feedback from one senior resident in the city, who is appalled by the continuing noise pollution.
Dear Mr Chimaliza,
I am reading your article right now in my house located at Press Village, Namiwawa, Blantyre. The amount of noise coming from parties within the neighbourhood is so loud and indeed causing discomfort on a Sunday afternoon. My question is ‘why are our city authorities tolerating this nonsense?’
Please find out on my behalf.
Complaining resident of Namiwawa.
That’s the question Bwana Mayor. Bring back your charisma. Blantyre residents are tired of these nuisances.n
With Michael ChimalizaFeedback: firstname.lastname@example.org