Malawi on the path to real recovery under Chakwera- Six lane Kenyatta road project launched

By Chikumbutso Mtumodzi

One of the most important ingredients for genuine economic development is the effective movement of people and goods. When the movement of goods and people is hampered, production, distribution and consumption, which
largely contribute to employment and wealth creation, are also seriously affected.

In its 2019-2024 manifesto, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) said it is determined to developing a strategic, durable and value for money road infrastructure network that supports inclusive growth and development on a sustainable basis by, among others, ensuring full implementation of the ‘Transport Master Plan’ through the provision of adequate funding to all agencies involved in its implementation.

It is the MCP’s determination to improve the design of the urban or residential road network, providing for proper drainage facilities, pedestrian or cyclist pavements, and sign post them to make them user friendly; reviving the
construction and maintenance of rural feeder roads modelled on the District Road Improvement and Maintenance Programme (DRIMP); and promoting transparency and accountability in procurement and administration of
contractors to ensure value for all investments; and depoliticising road development programmes and ensure that prioritization of road infrastructure is based on strategic economic benefits.

On Tuesday, August 31, 2021, President of the Republic and leader of the MCP, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, presided over the ground-breaking ceremony ahead of the expansion works on the Kenyatta Drive into a multi carriageway (six lanes)
and the upgrading of Mzimba Street. In his speech, the President said this is in his administration’s quest to lift the face of Lilongwe in a manner befitting a nation’s Capital, Lilongwe.
The Kenyatta Road starts from Parliament Round-about through the Lilongwe Sanctuary, Kamuzu Central Hospital Round-about, past Tsoka market up to Shoprite on the M1 Road. The construction works will include a new state-of-theart bridge on the Lingadzi River and a partial Cloverleaf interchange to replace the round-about at the KCH and Petroda Filling Station junction. Mzimba Street will be expanded from the Mchinji Round-about at Crossroads to Central Medical Stores.

This is one of the flagship road infrastructure projects that the MCP government under President Chakwera is carrying out and implementing within this financial year and beyond.
In its manifesto, the MCP said Malawi’s road transport infrastructure is grossly inadequate “extremely poor”. As high as 84 percent of Malawi’s road network, representing 11,378 km, is unpaved and has either an earth or gravel surface.
The urban road network represents 43 percent of the total paved road surface which is estimated at 4,073 km.
It has been concern MCP’s concern that maintenance of paved roads before was poor leading to progressive deterioration of quality and that road infrastructure development was highly politicized, usually unlinked to economic
activities and objectives.

FULFILLING THE MCP PROMISE

President Chakwera told the nation that the project he officially launched on Tuesday is a fulfilment of his promise to build a new Malawi through job creation, wealth creation, and food security, which he said would require investments in infrastructure of this kind as an accelerator. Building a ‘new Malawi’ was the MCP promise during campaign, the President has emphasized. President Chakwera has said it is a promise his administration is now delivering, and that building a new Malawi is a task his administration is now executing, and that building a new Malawi is the rallying call of national anthem, which his administration is now answering.

“When you see the construction of any road underway, know that we are answering our anthem’s call to build a new Malawi. When you see us constructing the Rumphi-Nyika-Chitipa road, we are answering that call. When you see us rehabilitating the Nkhata Bay-Dwangwa-Nkhota-Kota-Salima-Balaka market road, we are answering that call. When you see us completing the Jenda-Edingeni-Engalaweni-Mzimba road, we are answering that call. When
you see us constructing the Dzaleka-Ntchisi-Malomo road, we are answering that call.
When you see us completing the Ntcheu-Tsangano-Neno-Mwanza road, we are
answering that call. When you see us constructing the Lirangwe-Chingale Machinga road, we are answering that call. When you see us constructing the Chikwawa-Chapananga-Mwanza road in the south, or the Mzimba–Mzarangwe-Kafukule–Njakwa road in the north, or the Matawale road in the east, or this six-lane road here in the centre, we are answering that call.

“We are not stopping with the road projects initiated by this administration. Even the roads started and left unfinished by the previous administration are being done, and we have already provided resources in the current budget for that
purpose. This includes the Njakwa-Livingstonia Road, the Mzimba-Mzarangwe Road, the Jenda-Edingeni Road, the Ntcheu-Tsangano-Neno-Mwanza Road, the Nsanje–Marka Road, the Monkey Bay–Cape Maclear Road, the Nsanama Nayuchi Road, and the Mkanda-Kapiri Road. In a few months, we will also commence the rehabilitation of the M1 road from Kamuzu International Airport Junction to Mzimba Turn Off and from Kacheche to Chiweta, thanks to the
support of our development partners,” said President Chakwera.

President Chakwera has said a better roads infrastructure eases the movement of goods, services, and people, thus stimulating economic activity. It opens new opportunities for employment and business in many sectors. It saves lives and money by reducing the wear and tear to vehicles that is caused by roads that are poorly constructed.
“The neglect that Lilongwe’s roads have suffered under past administrations is tragic, as it has robbed Malawians of development. The amount of trash we have been throwing on the streets of Lilongwe is tragic, as it has robbed
Malawians of dignity. The amount of money in city rates we have allowed people to get away with not paying in Lilongwe is tragic, as it has robbed Malawians of dignified services. Lilongwe deserves better. As our nation’s
Capital, Lilongwe deserves attention,” said President Chakwera in his address. President Chakwera encouraged Malawians to end the neglect of the Capital City, to make it a clean city, a green city, and a modern city. He said the
Kenyatta Drive project must be a launching pad for making Lilongwe a beautiful
Garden City

President Chakwera has said there could have been no better way to set the bar of a grand vision for Lilongwe than the expansion of this road from two lanes to six lanes, which even makes provision for a Tram to be included in the future.
“I expect that the expansion of this road will set the standard for environmental preservation by making provision for the protection or restoration of as many of our beautiful trees as possible. “We need to stop setting and accepting low standards for ourselves, our cities, our roads, and our environment. Part of the mind-set change that we are
bringing to this country is demanding nothing but the best of ourselves and inspiring nothing but the best in each other. No one should claim to love Malawi when they are giving her less than their best,” said the Head of State.