The frequency at which our markets are going up in flames should have set someone somewhere thinking.
The trend has been troubling…Blantyre, Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Mzuzu again, Karonga, Blantyre again, Mzuzu again, Karonga, Mzuzu again, Lilongwe again, Mzuzu again, Blantyre again, Karonga again…
During all these unfortunate incidents politicians flock to these markets with bundles of crispy cash for instant relief and no permanent solutions until the next fire erupts.
The frequency at which these markets have been burning down should have given town planners some food for thought. Look at the haphazard manner these markets are constructed. The structures are built of timber and close to each other with no fire-breaks.
Any spark in one stall means the whole market goes up in flames.
And someone suggested insurance is the answer. But what crazy insurance company can insure the tinder boxes that are our markets stalls? The risk of fire in our market places are close to 99 percent and not even a mad insurer can indemnify that.
I am not suggesting foul play but the tendency of politicians coming up with ready cash to bail out market vendors who lose their wares in these infernos may be fuelling these fires as well.
Look, the routine is predictable; a market gets gutted down and all manner of politicians come up with bundles of cash. What can stop a vendor, who is low on capital, to burn the whole place down knowing that the President and the Leader of Opposition will come with pocketfuls of millions to help the vendors re-build?
The permanent solution is for city, town and councils to construct proper markets with proper structures that an insurer can insure. Most of our markets are accidents waiting to happen.
Stop this political pandering of bringing loads of cash whenever a market goes up in flames. This only takes care of the symptoms of the disease; it does not cure the disease.