In what experts described as a waste of both time and tax payers’ money, the Patriotic Front government have told the contractor AVIC who recently worked on Lumumba road and Great North Road to redo the roads – less than eight (8) months after construction.
Sources at the Road Development Agency (RDA) told Daily Revelation that following the deplorable state in which the two roads had become a few months after construction, government had been forced to recall the contractor to redo the roads immediately.
Sources pointed out that corruption was the main reason the two roads had been damaged barely a year.
“It is not only unfortunate but very embarrassing as a government. You saw how Lumumba road developed some waves and potholes between the traffic lights from Down town all the way via City Market up to Mandevu round about where it connects with Great North Road. This stretch became extremely dangerous not only to motorists but also human life. We received a lot of complaints from the public and when our engineers went to inspect the roads, they recommended that both roads be redone,” sources said.
The sources said that however, due to the embarrassing nature of the case, and that it would be expensive to entirely overhaul the roads, the contractor pleaded that only parts where the roads had badly been damaged be redone.
The sources further said under normal circumstances, the life span of the road was 10 years, but however, it was difficult for roads in Zambia to attain such a life span due to excessive corruption that characterise tender awarding processes.
The sources said it was difficult for contractors to do better roads because road tenders were not awarded on merit.
“To be honest, our public procurement system is rotten. Just like the employment system, for one to get a tender for a road, there are a lot of kick-backs at play. You can’t just a get a public tender without paying a chain of people involved in awarding. So, you know, these guys in the construction sector are also human beings; they also want to make a profit at the end of the day. They are not a charity. So, of course, when they pay those on top, and those in charge of awarding these tenders, what they do is to do a shoddy job so that they remain with something. Now, what suffers in most cases is the quality of the job they deliver,” the sources said. “This is what has happened in the case of Lumumba and Great North roads.”
The sources disclosed that even the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriage way would not be different in terms of quality of road network.
The sources said as could be seen, the dual carriage way had already been compromised from the very beginning.
“First, the government has no money to do this road, which is contrary to what was earlier promised in terms of duration for the completion. Secondly, there are other people who seem not to have gotten their kick-back from this project and want to frustrate everything. So, if you combine all other factors, it does not require a scientist to give us a picture of the quality of the dual carriage way Zambians should expect at the end of this project. If indeed, this project will be completed, then, there is no doubt that it will be highly a substandard road. That is if it will be completed,” the sources observed. “Not in the context of the duration we were told.”