Asphalt Roads Zambia, the contractor awarded to do the 34 kilometers roads in Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi have been ordered by senior government officials in central province to begin their works on the K165 billion contract despite their professional advice to wait for the rain season to be over. They say the works will be highly compromised and the roads would not last more than two years.
Addressing a Provincial Development Coordinating Committee (PDCC) extraordinary meeting on Wednesday last week, Provincial minister Philip Kosamu expressed worry at the delay of execution of contracts in the province. Kosamu also bemoaned the shoddy works that were being carried out in the province and country at large.
The meeting which was attended by all MPs in the province except Keembe MP Ronnie Shikapwasha who was appearing in court echoed the sentiments of the minister and demanded that the contractor begins the works to serve the party from further losing out on popularity.
However Engineers from both the Roads Development Agency (RDA) and Asphalt were opposed to beginning works during the rain season as that would compromise the works.
According to reliable sources from the RDA, the parliamentarians, especially from the ruling PF were unhappy about the ‘professional advise’ they were given and demanded that works commence immediately. “The legislators especially from the PF were unhappy about Asphalt’s advise that they wait for the rain season, they feared that they were fast losing popularity in their constituencies and any further delays would jeopardize their re-election in 2016, as a result they lobbied that works should begin,just to appease the electorate,” said the source in an exclusive interview with the Watchdog in Kabwe.
And as a result of the parliamentarians’ insistence, the contractor went on site on Friday and started grading Freedom way and Buntungwa streets, right in the central business district, which were heavily potholed. Sources from the contractor and RDA disclosed that, with this insistence by government to appease the electorate, the quality will be highly compromised and that the roads would not last 2 years but since that was the government’s wish they would proceed with the work.