Members of the public are questioning where the money goes that Blantyre City Council collects from Mibawa minibus terminal and other bus depots if not for maintenance of these vital socio-economic facilities.
This follows a picture post on Facebook from social critic, Onjezani Kenani that he forwarded from another source that went with the following explanation.
“This is the entrance to Mibawa minibus terminal. Through your page maybe it can reach out to those responsible.
“Minibuses pay K100 when they go in but look at the sorry state of the terminal — there is no public toilet and no water.
“Where does our money go? Since 2006 they have been collecting money but no development.”
But when contacted to explain various allegations made from the avalanche of responses that the post attracted, City Council public relations officer, Anthony Kasunda simply said: “We have no comment at this time. At the right time, we shall furnish you with the right information.”
The barrage of responses freely ridiculed the City Council for the neglect of these facilities, whose current filthy state can lead to transmission of communicable diseases such as cholera and dysentery following the rains.
Apart from the entrance, the whole Mibawa terminal is in a sorry state with mud everywhere and the Mudi River, which runs parallel to terminal is heavily polluted with “toxic cocktail of industrial and human waste” as observed by prominent lawyer, Edge Kanyongolo.
Other places of neglect people have highlighted include Wenela and Limbe bus terminals, the area behind Blantyre flea market, facing Blantyre main Market and many others.
The voices of concern can ignite concerned public members to rebel because several people encouraging the minibus operators not to be paying the fees they are obliged to under the bylaws.
Maxwell Checks alluded that the City Council has “just signed a K1.5 billion deal with a Kenyan company to automate the ticketing system for [Mibawa terminal] and Limbe bus depot”.
Kasunda’s response that they have no comment included if he could confirm this allegation.
Titus Chiwindo disputed that there aren’t any toilets at Mibawa terminal, saying there are pay in services but most people who ply their trades there avoid paying the fees, preferring to relieve themselves against trees close to the Mudi River.
Others suggested that in terms of maintaining sanitation, maybe the Council can provide free toilet services whose cleaning and maintaining costs can be met from the fees collected from the fees but Titus Chiwindo shot this down, arguing that there are just too many people who patronise bus terminals — close to over 1,000 per day.
“Let’s say 500 use the toilet once a day and they are provided with tissue paper and they flush the toilet — how much cost would that be and who pays for that cost if it is free?
“Even in our homes, we pay for sanitation monthly — tissue papers, water bills, even self contained house rentals are higher than those using communal toilets.
“So, the bottom line is, let’s do away with the free mode and proactively contribute to the development of this nation.”
Symon Gama argued that maybe people prefer to relieve themselves in the bushes because even though they are pay in toilets, they are so filthy and discourages people patronizing them.
Kasunda’s other question was to explain who runs these toilets and why the Council didn’t provide any shelters in case of downpours.
Louis Uko disclosed that money collected goes in through Blantyre City Council account and come out on Blantyre City Assembly account, an allegation that Kasunda was also asked to verify.
Other people from Lilongwe and Mzuzu also made their contributions on the poor state of bus terminals while Mzuzu-based Christopher Mhone said he decided to withdraw his minibus from business because though he paying K15,000 per long trip, he wasn’t satisfied as to who benefits from these fees.
He said he was told this fee was for the minibus operators association but he found out it doesn’t exist.
“I really wish we had strong Councils which would provide leadership in these matters.”
This revelation of K15,000 per long trip was met with incredulity from others and was several times questioned if it was true or just a sweeping allegation but Mhone maintained his facts.
“I have withdrawn mine recently after my driver passed on in an accident and these people were unwilling to support his funeral expenses, yet they claimed [the fees were] for such purposes.
“That is why after fixing my bus, which had a breakdown, I resorted not to put it back there. We are financing a cartel,” Mhone said.
In his comment, Deguzman Kaminjolo said this was all sad and infuriating, saying the City Council would not get away with the sad state of filth if these public places were in locations where influential people operate from.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :