Red Star Campaign
On Monday, 23 February 2015, His Excellency the State President of the Republic of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika conducted a whistle stop tour of Blantyre and Limbe Town Centres to see dilapidated commercial buildings and houses of the Limbe Police Station. After his tour, the president lamented the sorry state of most of the buildings in the two towns.
Mutharika said it was sad that many years after independence a lot of buildings in the City leave a lot to be desired. He therefore emphasized on the need to modernize the City. This marked the relaunch of the ‘Red Star’ campaign.
Red Star Campaign is an urban renewal programme aimed at redeveloping the urban ‘decay’ areas of the City through demolition and rehabilitation of buildings that do not meet the standards of the City and poses danger to workers.
The recommendations for the campaign include demolition, renovations or painting to facelift the City.
Immediately after the president’s visit, Blantyre City Council formed a committee to oversee the implementation of this campaign which is chaired by the Deputy Mayor Councillor Wild Ndipo.
But after realizing that this committee cannot ably go on the ground to do the physical assessment of the buildings, a taskforce comprising technical people was formed with clear Terms of References.
The taskforce has been physically checking buildings in both Limbe and Blantyre and came up with a list of buildings that need to be demolished, maintained or painted.
The actual exercise started in Limbe from June 29 to July 3, 2015 and thereafter continued to Blantyre town centre from July 8 to July 10, 2015.
Membership of the taskforce include experts from the Ministry of Physical Planning, Ministry of Lands, the Polytechnic Built Environment, Malawi Institute of Engineers, Malawi Institute of Architects, Malawi Institute of Physical Planners, Surveyors Institute of Malawi, NCIC, Blantyre City Council’s directorate of Town Planning, directorate of engineering and the fire section.
According to a report presented to the red star campaign main committee by the taskforce, about 87 buildings will be demolished in Limbe, 41 maintained and 52 need painting.
Blantyre on the other hand will see 74 buildings being demolished and 44 being maintained whereas 27 will need painting. 11 and 23 buildings have been said to have no problem in Limbe and Blantyre respectively.
A 60 days notice will be issued to developers to either demolish, maintain or paint their building according to the recommendation. Developers whose buildings need to be refurbished will also be made aware on what kind of maintenance their buildings will need.
All the buildings which have been earmarked for demolition in Limbe and Blantyre will be marked with a red star and that owners would be given 60 days to pull them down. If the owners fail to do as instructed within the time-frame given, the Council will do the needful but the developers will be responsible for all the costs.