The demand for rehabilitation of a K30 million (about $90 909) link road in Blantyre seems to bear no fruit even after Blantyreâ€™s Chimwankhunda Township residents sought the intervention of President Joyce Banda.
The residents find themselves helpless after sending letters to various stakeholders, including Blantyre City Council (BCC) which promised to rehabilitate the road.
The development also raises suspicion on the whereabouts of the K30 million which was included in BCCâ€™s budget.
Other stakeholders the residents approached for help are the Minister of Information and Civic Education who is also legislator for Blantyre South West Constituency Moses Kunkuyu and Roads Authority (RA).
The road in question is a link from Soche East via Living Waters to Chimwankhunda market.
Reads the residentsâ€™ letter to President Joyce Banda: â€œYour Excellency, we wish to bring to your attention that the development of this road was denied by the former leadership because of the sour relationship with both Your Excellency and Honourable MP Moses Kunkuyu.
â€œNow that Your Excellency have ascended to the highest office, the residents of Chimwankhunda, who happen to be your neighbours through your institution Joyce Banda Foundation [who were with you in your difficult times], have total trust and hope that Your Excellency will intervene through your wise and dynamic leadership so that they will be rewarded with a bitumen road.â€
The letter is signed by George Kesakudza and Frank Harawa chairperson and secretary of Chimwankhunda Development Committee, respectively.
At a meeting for the residents, BCC and RA, it transpired that K30 million was budgeted for the road, but was diverted to other activities.
According to the minutes of the meeting, BCC admitted allocating K30 million for the road, but the money was diverted to other communities.
â€œThis year, we have budgeted for this road and we will do our part. The fuel is ready, but the issue is the PVHO [Plant and Vehicle Hire Organisation] hiring prices at commercial rate is a concern and the authorities are looking into that. We cannot do this road to bitumen standard because of the devaluation and our budget for the year does not allow us and if we can depend on BCC funds alone, this road may take 10 years, doing it in phases,â€ reads the minutes.
RA said the road was not within its mandate but the BCC.
â€œWe know this road in question well. It is 2.1 km. The estimates of the road are K243 million, that is excluding compensations for the enclosures. Our proposal is that the council of Blantyre must write the Ministry of Local Government which will forward the letter to Ministry of Transport,â€ read the minutes.
The minutes state that Blantyre City Council promised to use K30 million whereas Kunkuyu promised to use K13 million of the Local Development Fund, but that money is said to be unavailable.
BCC chief executive officer Ted Nandolo did not answer his phone on Thursday when we contacted for an official position.