A seven-member delegation of the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Public Infrastructure on Thursday endured the harsh reality of travelling on the rugged Machinga-Chingale-Lirangwe Road.
The tour, which started on a good note at Traditional Authority (T/A) Lundu headquarters in Blantyre, turned into a different story when passing through Chingale area in Zomba where the road is in bad condition.
The convoy got stuck for almost an hour at Nsambamwali Bridge near Fikila Trading Centre in the area of Senior Chief Mlumbe. The bridge is impassable and only four-wheel drive vehicles dare to cross the river to the other side of the road.
The minibus, which the committee was travelling in, including other vehicles, failed to cross the area and had to use a much longer alternative route to reach T/A Mkula headquarters in Machinga.
Residents along the road were overheard saying: “Mukanabwera nyengo ya mvula kuti mudzaone zomwe timakumana nazo ku dera kwathu kuno.” [You could have toured this road during the rainy season so that you have a feel of what we go through in this area].
Speaking in an interview during the tour, the committee’s chairperson Victor White Mbewe said they felt for the people.
“It is indeed high time this road was constructed. We are in the shoes of these people and the good news is that funding for the project has been identified. So far, government has pumped in K4 billion and the Kuwait Fund has also pumped in K10 billion. As of now consultations are being done to redesign the project,” he said.
In his remarks, one of the road task force chairpersons, Francis Gondwa, said they are expecting action on the road as opposed to what he described as mere promises.
“You need to speed up the consultation process. Farmers find it hard to get their harvests to markets because of the bad state of the road. As a result, we just sell them at low prices,” he said.
Zomba-Lisanjala legislator Enoch Luka said once the 62-kilometre road is constructed, it will improve the social and economic lives of communities in Zomba, Machinga and Blantyre districts. n