The very first good news I’ve heard in 2017 is that the Mayor of Lilongwe will step down by next year. The dude really bit more than he could chew when he accepted that job. I personally think he was way too old and fixated for the position. Every prostitute will tell you that It’s very difficult to achieve results with an old timer, this situation is kinda similar. I am a proud resident of Lilongwe. I have lived in this city for the best part of my life and I have watched it boom in population and infrastructure over the past decade and half. I had my first everything in this city; Carlsberg, Weed, Masturbation, Blowjob, Intercourse, Threesome and Orgy…. in that order…. This city taught me everything I know about everything I know. But I do dislike a few things about my city and i have a few words to say about it… here goes;
Misewu ya fumbi
It’s an open secret that Lilongwe is one of the world’s dustiest cities outside a desert. The blame for this squarely lies on whoever decided to set up a city in an alluvial plane which was more suitable for a ranch than a metropolis. No offense to Kamuzu Banda. This is relatively new city so infrastructure will understandably not always be 5 star, however there are some bare minimums that no Mayor can get away with, one of those being a good network of asphalt roads connecting residential areas to the CBD. This is a conspicuous disaster in Lilongwe. The last time I checked, only 9 out of the 51+residential divisions in the city have some recognizable tarmac roads. The rest of the city has to make do with un-maintained gravel or forgotten potholed tarmac roads. Owning a car and a nice modern house isn’t much fun when you live in places like Area 49 New Shire, Dubai, Area 25, Kawale, Area 36 etc and drive through the horrendous roads. Most of the roads lack drainage so rainwater runs gullies wherever possible. We can really do better to make these communities more livable. What does it take to have these roads properly maintained? Is it the Mayor? Cant residents contribute something through area representatives (or whatever those deposed chiefs are called these days) and maintain these roads if the city council is failing? Is this not the kind of work suitable for people sentenced to community service or hard labour?
The Chaotic Housing Market
The housing situation is one of the cancers eating away at Lilongwe’s pancreas. The city simply doesn’t have proper housing for its growing middle class and the result is quite bad. The high demand for houses means landlords in Lilongwe are having a field day raising rental fees everyday and more and more people are finding themselves unable to afford rentals in Gulliver, Area 18b and Area 47. It pains me to see self-respecting people being forced to leave their fancy Area 47 lifestyle and settle for Area 36 M’buka simply because they can’t afford the rent anymore. What is more despicable is that all the good houses in good locations are now being occupied by expatriates and other immigrants. I do not have a problem with foreigners per-se (actually I don’t understand why someone would wanna come and settle in Malawi in the first place), but they are partly responsible for the rise in rental fees in Area 47 and Area 49 as they fix rentals through estate agents and pay far more than required. I won’t say much about Lilongwe’s illegal estate agents. They are another cancer that needs to be cured. I’ll write about my experiences with agents another time.
Mr Director of Planning Tiyankhuleni
I’m not sure if I have the right expertise to write about town planning but it doesn’t take a master’s degree to see that Lilongwe is a city expanding without direction. I wonder how the city council plans to oversee the expansion of the CBD, because it is now surrounded by residential areas. It seems every new land opened for development is being made residential. I used to expect Area 6 to be the expansion point of Old Town through Area 4, now it looks like the place will be residential forever. When warehouses started cropping up around Njewa in the Mchinji road, I got confused because I see so much potential for expansion of Kanengo industrial area. Whoever approves building plans must surely be smoking something. Later on I overhead that Njewa is the new industrial area, it didn’t make sense to me but I went with the flow. Only to realize that lodges, residential houses, events gardens, farms and all manner of building are also being approved for construction there. Then I noticed that small industrial factories are also cropping up along the M1 road in Area 36-Kaphiri, together with night clubs, lodges, hospitals e.t.c. Maybe I don’t get it, but I think poor land use planning is the reason why we have so many organizations renting houses in Area 3, 6, 9 e.t.c. as offices.
The Peasant Mentality of the Educated
The majority of Lilongwe’s workforce is employed on regular 8 to 4:30 NGO jobs. Malawians simply enjoy having a boss! There are very few indigenous people running successful businesses in the city. Donor money is the blood that keeps Lilongwe alive. There is a lot of money to be made in the NGO industry, especially in Agriculture and HIV. I believe the average Lilongwe denizen is a 32 year old man working on a donor funded project… stealing a few coins from procurement and building a 3 bed roomed house in Area 49 to assist him on a rainy day. This is why 99% of the construction taking place in Lilongwe is residential. When will Malawians learn to sweat their backs and start building skyscraper hotel businesses without needing government political favours? Let’s break from this peasant mentality
Is it Chilambula or Paul Kagame Road?
Let this be a plea to the national roads authority; chonde chonde put some modern road signs in Lilongwe. The sign posts are so small and inconspicuous that one would think they are supposed to be a secret. It would do the city good if every road in the city had those big greed signposts which tell us the name of the road and where it takes us. Mr Mayor sir, such a move would make you look at least half wise. Right now, I still don’t know the names of our roads except the Kamuzu Procession Road and the Paul Kagame Road…. Which may actually be officially called Chilambula Road. I don’t know.
Getting back to what I was doing before this now (Brazzers). Y’all been great.
Happy New Year!