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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Let’s take action against urbanisation challenges

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What the Malawi Police Service (MPS) has said that security and policing are a challenge in Lilongwe due to high urbanisation which has seen an increase in people coming to settle in the capital city does not make a good read.

It is even more disheartening to learn that among the groups of people that settle in the city are criminals who end up terrorising society.

But what MPS is highlighting are mere symptoms of rural-urban migration. There is a need to look critically at the cause of the problem.

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And the answer lies in nothing but abject poverty perpetuated by poor governance that results in glaring inequalities in terms of wealth distribution.

The country has had five decades to crystallise visionary and servant leadership and a serious long-term national development blueprint that can bring some semblance of order and continuity in our state of affairs and a springboard for attaining the much talked about middle-income economy but nothing noteworthy thus far.

Eighty percent of Malawi population live in rural areas where the majority depends on rain-fed subsistence farming.

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But rural dwellers are not strangers to deprivation of any nature in their daily lives. Poor rural people live in remote areas with poor infrastructure, for example, that limits their economic activities. As a result, many rural people flock to urban areas in search of a meaningful existence.

And the failure of infrastructural development by the government to keep pace with the increasing numbers of people flocking into towns and cities in search of a better life can also correspondingly mean the lack of capacity by the government to mobilise sufficient resources which are required for effective response to the urban challenges.

This alone can, though not commended, forces some urban dwellers to try to make a living through unlawful means.

This is where the problem is, in case the MPS does not know.

And it requires the visionary leadership to be able to provide long-term solution to such problems.

As a country, let us take action against urbanisation challenges seriously.

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