Uncle Harvest on INFRASTRUCTURAL DEGRADATION

The story of the degradation of infrastructure across the land, both public and private is one of the greatest eyesores of the Nation.

Karonga District, Northern Malawi is that the hospital sewer system that broke down a few years ago has been maintained.

This maintenance courtesy of Welt Hunger Hilfe.

The story of the degradation of infrastructure across the land, both public and private is one of the greatest eyesores of the Nation.

A few years ago, Professor Lovemore Mbigi, a Zimbabwean management consultant of Rainmakers Consultants based in South Africa, troubled by this phenomenon across Sub-Sahara Africa, conducted a research on the matter.

He had observed that the problem of lack of maintenance or repair of buildings, plant,machinery and vehicles was particularly prevalent in Sub-Sahara Africa.

He studied eight Bantu languages and found that none of these languages had separate, distinct words for maintenance or repair from " to make".

For example, in Chichewa " to make" is " kukonza" and " to maintain or to repair" is "kukonza".

This stands true in other Bantu languages.

Prof Lovemore Mbigi went further to look at this Bantu traditional behaviour to understand this phenomenon.

His major observation was that in the village when a hut develops a crack, the man of the house does not mend the crack.

Instead, he starts building a new one.

The greatest problem being faced is that this rural traditional mindset has been brought into modern management.

Maintenance and repair is not planned and budgeted for.

Where it has been planned for it, is not prioritized. If there is an easy budget line to shift, the maintenance budget is the first victim.

The age of a building is not a reason for it's state of affairs.

It is the lack of maintenance and repair that is responsible for the decline of buildings, plant and machinery.

This calls for mindset change. Some of the maintenance and repair work doesn't call for heavy financial investments.

It calls for commitment to maintain what is there at a high level of standards as first installed.

Some of it involves sweeping, cleaning and mopping facilities.

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