Bridge reconstruction stirs lamentations among Jalawe residents

Jalawe Bridge.

Economic woes have regained roots among some youths of Rumphi district in Malawi’s Northern Region following the reconstruction of Jalawe Bridge.

Heavy downpour in the country’s northern parts in the past two weeks, saw the bridge getting washed away due to pressure from running water. This disrupted traffic but economically benefited some Rumphi residents.

In the wake of traffic disruption, men from communities near the bridge made money by carrying travellers and their luggage across the river in exchange for money. This happened as passengers shifted to another bus since the gap left by the washed away bridge made it impossible for vehicles to make through to the opposite side.

Jalawe Bridge.
Jalawe Bridge made others do business.

Travellers from Mzuzu to Karonga and vice versa had to spend K500 to be carried a cross the river on a less than 10 metre distance. It was a battle for the strong as men from nearby villages fought for customers.

Our source indicates that the biological careers were not open to bargaining on the set price because those on a journey needed to pass through by any means available. As such the travellers coughed what was charged.

With the reconstruction of a temporary bridge leading to resumption of traffic, there is grief on part of all those who benefited from its damage. With the country’s economy in shambles, their options for making money have been narrowed.

This raises fear of vandalism on the bridge so that the concerned should continue enjoying economic benefits tethered to its damage.

“When I was carried across those waters, I could hear some men saying the situation should stay like this for a long time,” said Pilirani Mweso who was then travelling to Karonga from Mzuzu.

Considering the possible negative outcome, some people have suggested there should be security at the bridge whose damage made travelling between Karonga and Mzuzu a nightmare.