Of Blantyre's renewal, strategic issues
Esteemed Raw Stuffers, we continue saluting when others do good things. The National Bank of Malawi (NBM) new headquarters and service centre in Blantyre which was opened by Acheemwa JB this week is a case in point.
It not only signifies deserved growth for the bank and the banking sector, but also adds to the beauty, character and growth of Malawi’s oldest and historic City of Blantyre, after aNgwazi original put the first signature with his ever-imposing and architecturally charming Chayamba Building in the heart of the city.
The NBM Towers, as the new structure has been christened, follows in the footsteps of the Reserve Bank of Malawi’s Blantyre branch just opposite, the Livingstone Towers on Glyn Jones Road and the government office complex at the tail of Victoria Avenue as you leave town for the south.
Esteemed Raw Stuffers, the RBM nine-storey marvel puts the icing on the cake of what our late Town and Regional Planning Professor J.R.N. Mlia labelled ‘urban renewal’, a field strongly echoed by respected economists such as the Swedish Karl Gunnar Myrdal (1898-1987) and others. It is about the rebirth of towns and cities after some industrial or economic, land use and/or functional decay.
Esteemed Raw Stuffers, let’s throw our hats in the air as we further salute other developers in Ginnery Corner, with the upcoming and imposing Kia structure at the QECH roundabout, which used to house Horace Hickling Netting Company in those old days. Down that street, we have the rejuvenated or completely new structures by the enterprising Chirimba Garage family, the hardworking Deekay Suppliers merchants, the Macra lot and several others.
Esteemed Raw Stuffers, it is a reconstruction wave that has also hit parts of the highway all the way to Limbe CBD and the outlet to Zomba—especially around the Limbe Auction Floors area, taking over from the decayed tobacco processing structures that virtually went flat when the industry seriously moved from Limbe to Kanengo in the glorious Kamuzu days.
This renewal, as rekindled by the NBM Towers this week, is surely making ‘the old man’ of Kasungu have sweet dreams and smiles in his Capital Hill mausoleum. You remember in his days he went as far as initiating the ‘Operation Red Star’, getting rid of dilapidated, tired colonial structures from the city?
He may not have achieved instant results, but the fast metamorphosing face of the City of Blantyre today gives promise to that demolition and replacement initiative.
The development also makes another old man, Sir David Livingstone, who ‘founded’ Blantyre in the twilight years of our history, happy. His heart at Ujiji in western Tanzania and body in Westminster Abbey should be the happiest elements as ‘his’ Blantyre grows.
Congratulations and advance Merry Christmas to National Bank of Malawi and the other ‘Blantyrians’.
But one thing: Those that addressed the NBM function, notably Chemwaali JB, did not give a fair salute to the occasion.
We, Raw Stuffers, expected Chemwaali to go into what economists and those who pretend to be economically-aware call ‘macroeconomic fundamentals’, what this banking growth means to the economy, how the IMF growth facility loan that was approved Monday night would be used, to spur what and for how long.
We expected her to seriously outline her new government’s economic philosophy and direction; not settling scores with old or dead political foes, the way she expounded and wasted time on how the late Professor Moya treated her when the Mzuzu NBM facility was inaugurated.
To us, all that is history and executive crap.
Malawians want to know what fiscal and monetary ropes this government will throw at the citizens, who are enduring the yoke of 49 percent devaluation, high consumer process, shrinking earning power, lack of jobs and business opportunities as well as the overall ripple effect of the late Professor Moya’s mess.
The pipo wanted to know what this government thinks about life after donors; how do we rise from such ashes to be our own men and women, to generate our wealth and make it the backbone of our economy and pride, not relying on handouts from Washington, 48 years down the Independence Lane.
Esteemed Raw Stuffers, we, the pipo, wanted to hear on why is it that mainly banks are making mega-profits and building imposing structures in a rotting economy; specifically, why the cost of borrowing from these banks is way above everything when the dividends from saving with the same banks are just a joke. Who is well-placed to delve into this corporate theft better than a President, who has a whole village of advisers?
The point is, Madam President, get down to work and talk about real issues not zinyalala.