Malawians hate paying up. This became more evident during consultative meetings for the introduction of ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ some two years ago, sending government to the drawing board.
Many stakeholders, industry players and community members alike, came flat out against the initiative, saying it would make life expensive since it would, in effect, make people pay for that they needed not.
There fears could, somehow, be understood since they emanated from the Ministry of Environmental Affairs. Now, government wants to start from the ground and instill a sense of cleanness over public infrastructure.
Minister of Local Government, Goodall Gondwe, has started the process, beginning with Mzuzu City in Malawi’s Northern region.
Mzuzu was declared a town in 1964, before graduating into the region’s only city. The country has four cities, one in the North, another in Central region, which also hosts the country’s capital city, and two in the Southern region. These are Blantyre and Zomba, Malawi’s former capital.
Gondwe is not happy with album dwellers he accuses of developing ‘strange’ tendencies.
“People seem to have developed strange tendencies, one of which includes litter- throwing in most parts of the country’s urban areas. This does not happen in rural areas, which means that it is not part of our culture,” said Gondwe.
Gondwe said government wanted to improve the level of cleanness in Malawian cities, some of which were once considered the cleanliest in Africa. Foreign heads of state even came to just appreciate how City Assemblies such as Blantyre managed to keep litter out of the streets.
But Gondwe said this reputation was fast dying because urban dwellers were losing sense of environmental management and throwing all responsibility to the wind.
“We want to start with local assemblies and take the initiative to the national stage. It is not too late to bring things back to normal,” said Gondwe.
He hoped that people would soon begin to own up to their mess.