Expectant mothers in Neno have died, are dying and will keep dying on the way to hospitals unless we improve rough roads across the country.
Intelligent children from remote areas are failing to excel in school and climb the social ladder due to lack of better roads to take them to urban schools where quality education is concentrated.
Hardworking farmers are failing to enjoy the gains of their toils because they cannot access distant markets where their surplus yield will fetch better prices than peanuts being offered by mobile vendors who go to them.
Malawians are being denied the right to development because they were born and brought up in remote localities with no smooth roads.
One night in 1986, when I was very young, I had the shock of my life when a pregnant aunt of mine fell ill before her time to deliver.
My cousin and I were sent to call a traditional birth attendant who later told my grandmother that they had to take the aunt to Magaleta Health Centre, over 20 km from my home in Kantuwale Village. Due to the narrow, bumpy road, we could not find a vehicle to transport the sick aunt to the health centre.
This is how we lost our beloved aunt, a pivotal member of my family.
Fast forward to 2017.
The rugged road, which fast-tracked her death is still in worse shape than it was three decades ago and no one seems to be interested in it.
It seems no one is interested in the plight of us, the people of Neno who desperately need a modern road from Neno Turn-off to Kundembo to lift ourselves from poverty and preventable deaths.
Remember what old Major told his comrades in Mr Jones’ Animal Farm three nights before his peaceful death in his sleep: “Remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others.
“It is all lies. Man serves the interest of no creature except himself. And among us animals, let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades…and remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him. Even when you have conquered him, do not adopt his vices.”
Members of Parliament from Neno have always pretended to have the interest of the ordinary citizens at heart but they have never served the interest of ‘the people].
They serve their own interest.
Before elections, they all promise good roads in Neno. When they go to Parliament, the road issue dies a natural death as if it is no paramount agenda for Neno and neighbouring districts.
Just repair the road properly—instead of wasting public money on substandard works that have been going on—and the problems Malawians in Neno have been going through will be alleviated.
Government must commit and concentrate on constructing a modern road in Neno like those seen in other districts.
There is need to prioritise the Neno Road and this entails action, not political rhetoric.
Lack of political will to ensure people of Neno equally enjoy the national cake has made the people, who contribute taxes in all forms, suffer in silence.
It does not require Neno residents to stand up and demand what is due to them.
It only needs those responsible to genuinely put the interest of the people at heart and give them what belongs to them.
Upgrade the Neno turn-off to Kundembo Kambale Road into a modern road and Neno will rise to achieve its potential.
We are sick and tired of dying needlessly while political promises and lies persist. n