Outgoing President Edgar Lungu is expected in Western Province tomorrow Wednesday just a week after the Zambian Watchdog observed that Western Province was the only region that Lungu has never visited since he became President.
Lungu is expected to commission various infrastructure developments in his attempt to canvass for votes from the region despite his silence on the long standing impasse on the Barotseland issue.
President Lungu will commission the politicised Mongu – Kalabo road, the Senanga Nursing School and the Sioma bridge across the Zambezi River.
Two people died last week in Sioma as army personnel were attempting to rescue people who were trapped as they tried to retrieve a pontoon that was stuck on the edge of the Sioma falls. People are still using the pontoon despite the bridge having been completed over a month ago as they were still awaiting President Lungu to commission it.
He will also commission the ‘construction’ works for the King Lewanika University which has been on paper since 2012 before flying back to Lusaka on Friday.
It is not clear if Lungu will also commission the Mongu fuel depot and the Rivungu canal across the Cuando River in Shangombo.
The Matebele-Shangombo road which connects to the Rivungu canal across the Zambia Angola border is however in a bad state two years after the Road Development Agency (RDA) appointed Knight Piesold in conjunction with East Consult Ltd to provide consultancy services to prepare the road design and tender for the road construction.
The Mongu Kalabo road winds up in Kalabo and from there the 85 Kilometre link to Sikongo and the Angola border is a small sandy road which is hard to navigate even with 4 wheel drive vehicles.
The Kalabo-Sikongo-Angola road was initially planned to be constructed in tandem with the Mongu Kalabo road.
A Sikongo resident Songiso Mubiana has told the Zambian Watchdog that sometimes he walks the 85 Kilometres distance from Sikongo to Kalabo on foot and pointed out that the Mongu Kalabo road will not be of economic value for as long as there was no road between Kalabo and Sikongo.
‘We have to walk from 04 hours in the morning from Sikongo and reach Kalabo around 21 hours because the road is impassable,’ Mubiana lamented.
The Zambian government signed a loan agreement in 2013 with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BODEA) and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and OPEC Fund for Development for construction of the Kalabo Sikongo road but construction has not commenced to date.