For the past two weeks over 3 people have died on the Robert Mugabe Highway (popularly called Midima) which starts from Limbe to Mulanje. These are just a few victims of road accidents which are most common in this part of Malawi. I have come to observe that accidents are common in these areas because of two things:
1. The most common means of transport in this area is the bicycle (just as it is the case with most rural areas of Malawi). There is a popular joke that they are more bicycles in Mulanje than people. Unfortunately most of these cyclists are ignorant of the rules of the road or choose to ignore the rules. You will find a cyclist riding on the very centre of a road when he sees that no vehicle is around. Most of the accidents involve motorists and cyclists and in most cases the cyclists are the victims.
SOLUTION: Intensive civic education. I know that the relevant authorities have been carrying out campaigns to train educate the cyclists but its effects are yet to bear fruits. Come to Nkando, Bvumbwe, Muloza, Chinakanaka and see how cyclists control traffic. There is a popular program on the state controlled radio, Malangizo a Pansewu which gives advice to road users. Do the cyclists listen to this program?
2. Most of the markets in this part of Malawi are in the road side. When its market day in Bvumbwe or Nkando its very difficult to travel using a vehicle. And these are the days when lots of accidents happen. People sell their various wares along the road because the places that the markets were assigned are close to the roads.
SOLUTION: The relevant athourities should move the markets to better areas instead of the roads.
As am writing this some familes are grieving for the lives of their dear ones who have died in these accidents. I believe that we could have prevented these accidents.