Saturday, September 24, 2016
Zomba: Crumbling into the ruins of memory
Malawi's former Capital City, Zomba, remains as desolate and forgotten as ever. Just look at the picture above, taken by Jarson Malowa Saturday morning.
It is a perfect depiction of a dream of colour gone terribly wrong.
When the one party regime established Zomba as, first, a city and, then, Capital City, the idea was to turn it into a launch-pad for development. A former of physical map for development.
But Zomba, established as a preffered city for the white settlers, has lost track.
In those days, when the white settlers discovered that Zomba had a, somewhat, European climate that made life easy under the rays of the sun that hit, but hit with consideration, the hairless skin of a four-month-old baby.
The idea was to develop Zomba, infracture-wise, by changing the shape of the infrastructure.
So, they made the city, Zomba City, the abode of Parliament. Zomba Central Hospital was there to provide quick-fire medical attention, with the army (that is before Malawi Army changed to Malawi Defence Forces) base there to offer protection from outside threats.
Zomba was meant to be great. That is why the Malawi National Examinations Board headquarters are in Zomba. That is why Government Print, where all government publications are printed, is in Zomba.
But whatever dream disturbed the minds of those forward-looking people has been disturbed. Zomba's fall from the dream of colour started when, in the nick of time, someone decided to move Parliament from Zomba to Lilongwe. Yes, to move the Capital from Zomba to Lilongwe-- oh, dusty Lilongwe!
After that someone made, by word of mouth, that decision, someone, also by word of mouth, declared that Zomba be stripped of its city status. Zomba was a municipality-- stripped bare by lack of a Parliamentary building, reduced to ashes by the merciless deprivation of its Capital City status, trimmed to size by the further beating following Zomba's humiliation to the status of a municipality.
And, yet, someone else re-declared Zomba a city but fell short of re-declaring it a Capital City. It is because Lilongwe has moved on after Zomba's fall.
And it seems Zomba is unlikely to rise again. Already,former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika's colour-dream to turn Zomba State Residence into a state-of-the-art hospital. Like Bingu, the dream lies in black-and-white at the back of policy-makers' minds.
And Zomba business premises look sorrier than a street kid, as seen above.
Zomba's dreams crumble into the pieces of non-existence. Zomba buildings crumble while standing.