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Parking crisis in Blantyre

With Lorraine Lusinje:

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”—Barack Obama

The beautiful commercial city of Malawi, Blantyre, continues to grow and expand. As the population balloons (rapidly so, if I may add) and commercial activities in the city expand, one thing remains the same, and actually shrinks— parking space.

Finding parking space within Blantyre Central Business District (CBD) and Limbe is a nightmare, literally. “Sorry I am late, I was looking for parking space” has become a common line in corporate offices within Blantyre CBD and at times the hunt for a parking lot can waste a good 10 to 30 minutes of productive time. Remember, time is money.

Interestingly, in recent years, a new system was introduced; the system where city dwellers pay for parking within the CBD. Ironically, this was not complemented with the provision of more parking space within the city. We moved from not having enough provision for parking to paying for the little that is there. This fact irks many a taxpayer.

Another observation is that these citizens who are already squeezed by relatively high taxes and chagrined by the constant struggle to look for parking space have to also deal with the fluctuating personalities of parking fees collectors. I mean fluctuating in its very intimate form. Today, one deals with this character and the next day another character.

The collection process is irritating enough in the middle of a busy day; on top of that, there seems to be no uniform modus operandi that should be upheld by the collectors. People paying for parking that is a headache and hazardous and having to deal with unprofessional parking fees collectors is rather unfair on the citizenry. The least that can be done is have trained parking fees collectors that operate on a uniform level with uniform do and don’ts towards ‘clients’.

However, the real question is: Where are innovations to create parking space in the town? Citizens have been lamenting about the need for dedicated parking spaces within the city that are secure and well maintained.

What we see are new buildings springing up left, right and centre with parking space available only to accommodate 2 percent of expected patrons. Why is this even allowed? We have reached a point where we need to have a comprehensive parking lot as a non-negotiable prerequisite for any new building that is erected in this country.

Actually, citizens will be more welcoming of developments that show that something is being done for them instead of developments that constantly make citizens feel like they keep losing out. Citizens are paying more and more taxes and money but standards are not changing. Consequently, citizens constantly feel they are being served raw deals.

In this country, rates keep increasing, taxes keep going up and the cost of living keeps going up, yet services and standards keep going down. Even basic maintenance of important amenities is limited. If we cannot innovate, we can at least make sure that what is available is kept in the best condition possible.

Nonetheless, we need to continuously innovate and adapt to develop and it is imperative that we do not relent in the quest to take this country to greater heights.

Like Barack Obama said, “We are who we have been waiting for”. No one is going to come from somewhere else and improve the standards in the country. It is our duty to innovate, develop, market and nurture our country. And it is our duty to make the best out of the city dubbed the commercial city of the beautiful Warm of Heart of Africa.

I rest my case

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