Former Mayor of Blantyre City, Noel Chalamanda, might have done a good job, but he forgot one thing: the dead dogs found at almost every corner of the streets and this is the new task for the new mayor, Willard Ndipo. If you happen to be walking the paths cutting through the small and short bushes of Blantyre City or Lilongwe and Mzuzu City, and you haven’t met the foul blowing from a dumped dog carcass, consider that your lucky day, NYONI WA NYONI writes:
The tens of dogs hit to death by some angry or straying traffic over night, stay on the road like strangers of the morning in Malawi’s most cities and major towns.
At first, people were waiting for the city or town councils to collect the dead dogs to dump them wherever they belong before they go rotting and stinking.
But now, used to the delays by the councils, which make the dead animals to keep lying on the streets for a good days, the irritated passers-by now offer to do the job themselves for their own freedom of movement on the streets.
But they don’t help either because what they do is only to remove the dead animal out of the public eye and push it some meters away from the road into the nearby stream or bush.
Godfrey George, 24, a minibus driver, who ferries people from Ndirande to Chilobwe townships in Blantyre, from Monday to Saturday, says he has an issue with the Blantyre City Council.
Almost, every morning, on his routine between Ndirande and Chilobwe, he is greeted with the sight of two to three dog carcasses lying in the middle of the road. He says if a week goes without the sight of a dead dog on this road, then he expects the following weeks to be rewarded by more.
According to him, this either heralds a bad omen- a day of bad business, as going by what his grandfather told him.
But the dog carcasses lying and stinking on a beautiful tarmac road for prolonged three days, is not what his grandfather told him is bad omen. This is bad omen from the city authorities.
Pedestrians share more in Godfrey’s bad omen. While Godfrey is always on his minibus, the pedestrians take more minutes walking by the sight of the dead dogs and the resultant stench.
But Godfrey cannot stop his minibus to clear the dog off the road. He has nowhere, he can dispose or burry the dog carcass. And he has no choice as well but trample upon the dog carcasses standing on his ways on his trips to and fro. Then the dog carcass is milled into meal meat of its kind.
Patriotic residents of the city, who are aware of the city councils’ dysfunctions and go on to collect the carcasses, have no time to dig the graves for dog carcasses, neither have they had the proper place to dispose dead dogs- far from human settlements.
From the streets, the dead dogs end up in the nearby bushes, where they are afforded a little hide- to manufacture stench freely to the innocent passers-by without being identified.
“For the dead dogs found on the roads near the Blantyre Business District or the roads to Nyambadwe, Sunnyside and other suburbs, the city council moves in quickly to collect the carcasses and dispose them to proper places. But the dead dogs found on roads far from the business district are left to stink as the city council takes time to collect the carcasses or does not do,” observed one Ndirande resident, Mark Malisero who at the time of the interview was holding his mouth and noses in his hands to prevent galloping the foul from the dead dog condemned in the nearby bushes along Nasolo River- some 20 metres from her house.
Malisero thinks, it is this practice of collecting only those dead dogs found near the business district that leads people in settlements such as Ndirande or Chilobwe to dispose the dog carcasses wherever in nearby bush, very close to human settlements.
She thinks that if the city council, collects all the main roads of dogs every often killed by traffic before the break of the day and to dump them at proper places it could serve a greater good. Unfortunately, she says, the city administrators take for granted the stench that people reaches the innocent noses.
Thus, life in most parts of the city is sometimes of learning how to live with the stench from the dead dogs. As the sun climbs the horizon, the stench from the decomposing dumped carcasses of dogs, blows away into the noses of town dwellers- like some sort of a punishment for running away from the village to live in the cities.
The city residents themselves are sometimes to blame. Dogs are mainly reared for security purposes in homes. Unfortunately, the population of dogs in our cities is too high. A household can keep an average of ten dogs as there are no city by-laws to check the dogs’ population.
The city council of course should be blamed for its mismanagement of the dead animals but the city residents should also check the population of their animals, in case they have no fence and the animals are let free to fend for themselves, scavenging for food where they meet their death.
Dogs also need to be trained in a special way to stay within the compounds of its owner. It shows that most city residents have no dog management skills – a prerequisite of assurances pertaining to dogs’ life span.
However, our most concern is with the city authorities that there should be proper management of dead animals in the city streets.
One of Blantyre City Council public communications officials said in an earlier interview that the council rely on residents in particular areas where the dogs are hit to death because they cannot have the capacity to deploy people to watch on every corner of the city streets to monitor the cases of dogs killed every night.
“We also rely on residences to report to our offices on cases of dead dogs, because we cannot know where a dog has been hit to death and from there we act by deploying our staff to collect the dead dogs. The city administration, therefore calls on city dwellers to always be responsible to always make sure that the city is kept clean by working hand in hand with the council.”
But if the city or town councils put the blame on the city residents for not reporting cases of the dead dogs on streets in their particular areas and if the residents also blame the city council for responding lately to such cases, who will ever solve the problem of the stench that continue distressing Malawi’s cities or towns?
Maybe this a job for new Blantyre City Mayor, Willard Ndipo. Who knows Ndipo has the magical wand to solving this old problem.