Let me begin by congratulating you Mr. Chalamanda,on your being elected as councilor and secondly on your appointment as his Lordship the mayor of the city of Blantyre this past year. I know my goodwill parade is coming a year too late, but hey, It still does not hurt anyone to join the bandwagon. Pardon me for my political incorrectness, I have made reference to your accession to the commercial city’s chieftaincy as an appointment, there is an explanation to that.
Simply put, I do not submit to the idea that you were fairly elected by fellow councilors. It’s an open secret that Democratic Progressive Party like all preceding regimes already had that position in a bag and presented it to you on a silver platter. I am sure there is a politically correct explanation why the DPP awarded you the office of the mayor. What the people of Blantyre and I as citizens can only do is to speculate. In the absence of information, speculation fills the void or should I say in the absence of the Access to Information Law?
In any case, who cares about what you did to deserve the office. This is Malawi; nepotism, regionalism, cronyism, tribalism, quid pro quo and impunity lead the way. Apparently, people can get away with anything as long as they are connected or have allegiance to the ruling elite or much more so directly to the occupant of the plot number one.
There is little or nothing that we the people can do to change that status quo in the government of the people, and by the people. Ironic, isn’t it? At the end of the day,what is expected from us as a people of the City of Blantyre is to understand that the appointment was meritorious.
If my memory serves me correctly, that’s what was sold to us right? That’s the least we can expect from this administration. So far in certain appointments, the government has shown that meritocracy is not a far-fetched concept after all. Indeed it has exhibited some decency and I applaud it for that. Kudos to you Mr. President, it seems like you got it right on the appointment of the Mayor.
If the headlines could be used as a yardstick for appraising public officials performance, I am persuaded to believe, Mr. Mayor, you are on a mission to restore the lost glory of a once mighty commercial city.
Do you remember not long ago how the city of Blantyre was held in high esteem all over the African continent for its cleanliness, beauty and a low crime rate? Residents did not live in fear of being robbed, houses were constructed with little presence of steel barriers on windows and on the porches. Today all those beautifully constructed residences and well trimmed turfs are inside prison-likebrick fences.
The streets of Blantyre are no different from dumpster surroundings. Despite the fact that the city has by-laws to regulate how small scale businesses should operate, vending is done everywhere and anywhere. Despite having waste bins in strategic points throughout downtown, people still litter everywhere and anywhere. In spite of having restrooms in strategic points, people still urinate anywhere and everywhere. A story is told about people urinating on a ” DO NOT URINATE HERE” sign until it faded away.
What this means is that signs do so little to regulate people’s conduct, at least in Malawi. Mr. Mayor, it’s time to govern by ensuring that enforcement of the by-laws is done to the letter. That’s one of the things you would want to be remembered for, not authorizing a purchase of a 75 million Kwacha vehicle for your top brass while townships by-ways and main roads are looking like sink holes and city highways are characterized by drum holes. Or organizing Charity Shields, and making appearances on tree planting events.
Do not misconstrue my argument, spin-offs are not wrong, they are good for gaining political mileage and I understand that perhaps you need them being a political appointee. However, Mr. Mayor, this city has chronic pressing issues that require the attention of a man of your stature, aptitude and intelligence.
There is so much that needs to be done in the city, your Lordship. Topping the list is the improvement ofchildrens psychosocial growth, and youth development. I believe our preceding governments have let children and young people of Malawi down for decades. Sadly, the current administration seems to be getting it wrong too. Creating community colleges could be a step in the right direction. National Youth Service, that’s another great idea, however, what young people and children desperately need more than those aforementioned initiatives, are relevant, well-constructed and well-maintained youth centers and childrens playgrounds.
It’s time to set a different precedence. It’s time to change the course of the office of the Mayor Sir, do not allow your office to be used as just a pony in their political game. History has it that one of your predecessors realized a little too late that he was drinking from a poisonous chalice. Time for cosmetic service is over. It’s not enough to be seen doing something, you have to get out there and get things done.
Your Lordship, it seems you have the goodwill of the corporate community. What they have been doing lately is quite appreciated. However, people would love to see you getting these corporations involved in more tangible projects.
Youth Centers are required in every township. It is an implausible notion to think that Blantyre Youth Centre can service all the surrounding townships. We need youth centers and play grounds for children in all locations such as Chilobwe, Ndirande, Zingwangwa, Chilomoni, Machinjili, Makhetha, Mbayaniand the list goes on. Pay a visit to Bangwe Township assuming you have not done so already. AYISE, a youth development focus organization built an immaculate youth center there and another one in Thyolo District.
This is only a local Youth non-profit making organization with minimum financial resources. It does not even get an annual community development fund like your office does,but what they have done over the years is remarkable. That’s a testimony that with visionary, robust and trusted leadership anything is possible.
Mr. Mayor,you have a stature larger than life. In addition to that, you have the whole government machinery at your disposal. My humble plea to you, your Lordship is that you use these forces constructively. Norman Cousins, a renowned American Political Journalist, once said, ” If something comes to life because of you, then you have made an approach to immortality“. Youth centers and childrensplay grounds would mean so much in the lives of these young ones.
How would you desire to be remembered Mr. Mayor? When the music stops some day. When all is said and done and you are reclining on your Ndalema in the back yard of your magnificent house in one of the affluent neighborhoods of the city. Would you be able to say you fought a good fight like Paul in the Bible or you shall recoil with shame for allowing yourself being used like a thing, like your predecessor, Mr.Chikakwiya?
Whilst the Ministry of Education is scaling up, creating initiatives like community colleges. Conversely, your office Mr. Mayor needs to concentrate on establishing after school-programs. That’s the kind of programming and infrastructure we need for our children and young people your Lordship. Get these corporations to do tangible community projects. In any case, they have a social responsibility. It’s already been proven that they have trust in your leadership. It’s a win-win situation; they get sustained publicity, you personally get immortalized, and children and young people’s lives thrive.
Your Lordship, I strongly believe, with your leadership,another better Blantyre City is possible.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :