Mutharika said this when he was responding to a question from a Lilongwe based Malawian, Annie Lusuwali, on what his Government was doing to make sure that the Capital City looks clean and also on what mechanisms were in place to avoid a replica of substandard roads that are being constructed in the country’s cities.
Wrote Annie Lusuwali to Professor Mutharika, through MBC TV’s programme - Talk to the President: “Your Excellency, I would like to congratulate you on the good work of upgrading the roads in Malawi. However, the concerns are the substandard works done in some roads like in Lilongwe in Area 24 and Chipasula to Area 23 roads. I would like to find out what mechanisms are being put in place to avoid such substandard works in other roads that will be upgraded?
“I would also like to find out your plans for Lilongwe City which leaves a lot to be called a capital city; Tsoka road which is right in town is very dirty. And when one crosses the Lilongwe River all what is seen is uncollected refuse on both sides of the road. The bus depot is also pathetic. In as much as we are advocating for tourism-but if tourists could go to our bus depots they can have a very bad picture about our country.
In responding, President Mutharika Mutharika said he does understand Malawians’ concern on the issue of substandard roads since government was using their taxes in the projects. He said he feels betrayed that the substandard works have come following an order he gave to the Ministry of Local Government that it should give local contractors business in the projects, instead of awarding the contracts to non-Malawian owned firms.
“So what I have done is to instruct the assemblies to call back these contractors- to make sure that they repair the roads at their own cost otherwise they are not going to be paid (what government owes them). And now it is stopping. The Ministry has intervened through the councils," said President Mutharika.
Professor Mutharika further disclosed that his government plans to upgrade various roads to improve the city’s outlook.
“We are trying to improve Lilongwe roads. Very soon we will start duo-carriage way from Lumbadzi to Mchinji roundabout. We have already tendered the one from Area 18 Roundabout to Bingu National Stadium- it’s a very bad road. We will also dualise a number of roads including the one from Parliament to Kamuzu Central Hospital,” said the Malawi leader.
Turning to the issue of trash management in the city, the Malawi leader said it was high time the Lilongwe City Council started doing a better job.
“In regards to dirty, that I think is the responsibility of the city council. Blantyre is looking clean these days, so is Mzuzu. But for Lilongwe, I am sorry but they need to do a better job. The council should clean up this city. It is very dirty and I am sure the Local Government Ministry will keep on encouraging the city council to do more work to improve hygiene and trash in this city,” he said.
Talk to the President, which airs every three months on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Television, gives Malawians an opportunity to write and ask any question to the President of the Republic of Malawi.