By Linda Kwanjana
On 10 March 2019, Malawi President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera launched the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) manifesto at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe titled ‘Build on the foundation of a Democratic
Developmental State powered by the Chakwera Super Hi 5′.
On Chapter 5.1, the MCP President promised to revitalize the transport sector after noting that Malawi’s road transport infrastructure is grossly inadequate and compared with neighboring countries, the road network is extremely poor.
Chakwera observed that as high as 84% 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% of the total paved road surface which is estimated at 4,073 km.
The concern of the MCP President was that maintenance of paved roads is poor leading to progressive deterioration of road quality.
In the Manifesto Chakwera notes that Post-1994, road infrastructure development was highly politicized and not strategic as it was not usually linked with economic activities.
The President observed that national roads such as the M1 is extremely narrow, poorly marked and signposted, with no lighting, with narrow bridges, with limited guard rails or fencing to prevent encroachment of livestock thereby making them prone to accidents.
In view of the above, the president promised to ugrade the M1 road to the state of the art in order to facilitate efficient and effective communication across the country.
MCP manfesto is clear that the need for an improved road network need not be overemphasized because sub-standard infrastructure not only holds back economic development but it also causes additional costs in terms of time, effort and money of the people accessing essential services such as health care,
education and markets.
“The MCP is committed
to developing a viable road network because ready availabibility of road transport expands the market for agricultural and industrial products and thereby enable producers to produce on a large scale and reap the benefits of economies
“For this reason there is need to: Upgrade the M1 road to the state of art from Nsanje to Chitipa to facilitate efficient and effective communication across the country,” he said
True to his word, Malawi is no longer the same. The country has experienced high development levels surpassing any other leader who ruled Malawi before.
If we talk about roads infrastructure, the situation is totally different. There is even a good progress on the M1 Road.
So far the Kenyatta six lane road improvement project is a game changer on its own. People were taking one hour to travel from Shoprite to Lilongwe City Centre but now motorist will only be taking 10 Minutes on the same distance.
Not only that, double laned road project from Simama Hotel to Cross Roads is another game changer.