Teachers at Lilongwe Boys Primary School taught me that good roads bring development to an area.
Surely, they are pivotal to national prosperity as it eases the movement of people, goods and services.
As people travel freely, they do income generating activities at ease.
However, the road to Neno remains neglected six decades after Malawi’s independence in 1964.
Travelling to the district I call home during holidays, I always wondered why people in power cannot see the importance of constructing a decent road network in Neno.
When is the district going to taste the transformation other districts have in new Malawi?
Three decades on, Neno remains the same with no hope in sight though former presidents, incumbents and even aspirants have travelled to Neno, promising in vain to construct a tarmac.
One former president majestically laid a foundation stone for the promised tarmac that never was.
For years, even the talk about the Tsangano-Neno-Mwanza Road construction has become political bubble-gum.
Born and bred in Neno, I have been religiously paying taxes for the good of people in the district and the rest of the country, but it is annoying that the benefits have not trickled down to the district I call home.
Many people of Neno keep paying tax.
The gospel according to the Malawi Revenue Authority has it that tax bankrolls national development.
The big question is: When are these taxpayers going to get a slice of the said development?
The district cannot continue to be ignored by those in power.
It is a grave social injustice that the country’s political elites only remember Neno and the rutted road during campaign lies when they go begging.
Yet no one remembers the road after being put into power.
As a result, the district’s few health facilities suffer chronic drug shortage. Patients go to the hospitals, but return empty-handed after being told to go and buy drugs from private drug stores in Mwanza or Blantyre.
Neno is hugely indebted to Partners in Health (PIH) who have uplifted the district in many ways.
Without PIH, Neno would have remained a dead district.
This neglected poor road network has resulted in the preventable deaths of patients and pregnant women on the way to hospitals.
Some of the lost lives could have been saved without the deadly delays caused by the neglected road.
People of Neno do not ask for much from government. Give us a good road and the rest will fall into place.
Neno is an agricultural hub, which can help feed the country given a good road network.
The district produces wheat, potatoes, tangerines, oranges, legumes and other crops, but needs a good road to transport its produce to better markets nationwide.
Some crooked agro-dealers exploit this gap to swindle Neno farmers. They buy the produce at lower prices and make huge profits not invested in developing the district.
If upgraded, the roads to Neno will help the district’s farm produce fetch better prices for the benefit of the district.
Neno is home to Mkulumadzi Waterfalls, a stunning tourist attraction that remains hugely unexplored due to poor roads.
Currently, people in Neno endure long and costly travels to Mwanza and Blantyre to access banking facilities.
Only FDH Bank is available in Neno. Other banks and big businesses keep shunning the people Neno until the road is upgraded.
Whoever allocates development projects in the country should learn to distribute the cake equally.
The people of Neno have a right to reliable transport system, including a tarmac road. This should not be negotiable.
The people of Neno need a good road, not promises, lies and political innuendos.