It is a fallacy to say there are residential areas in this country.
They are chaotic.
Residential areas are mostly classified by the way people live.
Besides the standards of living, the areas are defined by their geography, outlook and tranquillity.
Many associate residential places with quietness, not really because the occupants are confined in brick-fenced houses or barbed wires.
Many a times, there have been complaints on radio, television and newspapers that there is just a big mess in the so-called residential areas.
Stories are told of how some occupants of the purported residential areas torment their neighbours.
Just imagine waking up to a stench of dung from a neighbour’s compound where chickens, cattle, pigs and goats abound.
As the so-called residential areas are turning into livestock and poultry farms, some people wake up to sights of dung within their homes yet they do not even raise one animal.
Some people go an extra mile, raising a flock of cats, dogs and other pets which are not even beneficial to their diet.
It is baffling that the keepers of these animals do not seem concerned with the nuisance they are causing in the neighbourhood.
What is even more depressing is that some of them are actually aware of their city councils’ by-laws banning their misplaced animal husbandry.
It is worrying that nobody seems to care. Malawians keep suffering in silence by not reporting such acts to relevant authorities.
Just like that, people are taking advantage of citizens’ laxity and indifference to open pubs, offices, salons, clinics, sports centres, events gardens in residential areas.
They are desperate to generate money without considering the damage they are causing to the community.
Think about a situation where some residents are relaxing with their family only to be disturbed with ear-splitting sounds of music from clubs, entertainment venues and wedding gardens in the neighbour’s fence.
Their weekend events-clubbing, weddings, engagements, parties and prayers-churn out noise that can be unbearable most of the times.
Not long ago, some Area 3 residents in Lilongwe moved Lilongwe City Council to ban evening and shows at Lilongwe Golf Club due to noise pollution.
There have been similar complaints in Blantyre, especially in Mandala where bars are mushrooming will-nilly and blasting music regardless of laws prohibiting this.
Then there are community churches that use massive public address systems to evangelise to a crowd that cannot fill their kitchen.
Freedom of worship is a birthright.
But how do you explain the high volumes of sound seeping from the music system. Add to the microphone a din of people speaking in tongues and you will understand the cacophony Malawians are enduring. This often happens during awkward hours when people are supposed to be sleeping soundly.
But there are more cases in our ghettos, the populous locations far from where authorities live and work.
What happened to laws and regulations that govern our settlements? What are the enforcement agents, especially city councils, doing about this mess?
They seem to have forgotten their job or obsessed with kick-backs from the owners of illegal businesses in places they are supposed to safeguard.
This rot is disgusting. It has left our communities in chaos and not worth to be called residential areas. If only we embraced the dos and don’ts of residential areas, it would ensure that there is sanity where we live.
It is high time the sleeping watchdogs at the city councils woke up, barked and started biting perpetrators to address the situation.
Their slumber has left many residential areas in total chaos not befitting their status. n