Written by Blackson Mkupatira
Mulanje, May 07, 2019: Government, through the Roads Authority (RA) has begun the first phase of upgrading the long awaited 45 kilometer Muloza–Chiringa road that will connect Mulanje and Phalombe through the Muloza drift in Traditional Authority Njema in Mulanje District.
Speaking during an interface meeting on Saturday at the Boma where traditional leaders and selected stakeholders discussed various developmental issues that may arise with the construction of the road, RA Board Chairperson, Brown Mpinganjira said the road will open doors to both the surrounding communities and the country as a whole.
He said among others, upon completion, the road will enhance economic activities and ease transportation challenges people were facing when accessing various social services including education and health.
He said: “People in this area have been crying for this road for a long time and it is a dream come true that it has pleased President Prof. Author Peter Mutharika to hand them their wish.
“This is a very critical road because it is a border road which has serious security implications. This is also a very rich agricultural area. There are a lot of produce that come from this area to various districts across the country hence transportation is very vital for the farmers and business people who ply their trade in the region,” said the board chairperson.
Mpinganjira then revealed that the construction has been deliberately divided into phases to motivate the contractor to produce timely and quality work.
“As government, we have already sourced all the funds for this project. However, we have noted that many contractors delay construction when given all the money. Once we see it’s going according to plan, we will be inclined to release the rest of the funds. If not we will contract another company to finish with the remaining 25km,” he explained.
Mpinganjira then instructed the contractor to deliver good results and hire local labourers so that the surrounding communities can also benefit from the development economically.
Traditional Authority Njema expressed gratitude that the State President Prof. Peter Mutharika has decided to honor his promise of upgrading the road.
He said a lot of developments in his area were stalling especially in the rainy season because the road becomes impassable.
“I would like to commend government for allowing us to have this development. It is not something we take lightly as people of Njema. Our children and the sick were facing a lot of challenges when they were going to school and hospitals for medical attention respectively,” said the Mulanje Chief.
Njema said with the coming of the road however, his area will be transformed as the road project will not only ease transportation challenges but also boost economic activities and allow for other developments to speed-up.
He therefore advised his fellow traditional leaders to own the development and ensure its timely completion by working hand in hand with the contractor so that they should begin enjoying its fruits sooner than later.
District Commissioner for Mulanje, Charles Makanga said as a council, they were failing to provide better services to the people of Traditional Authority Njema because of the road problem.
He added that a lot of farmers in the area were selling their produce at a cheap price to vendors because they had challenges transporting their produce to market centers in the district and across.
According to Makanga, once the road is open, service providers will be able to respond timely and serve communities in the region with various social services while farmers will get the best prices for their commodities.
The first phase of the project has been awarded to M.A Kharafi and Sons with a contract price of K7 billion.
The construction which will cover 20Km, began on April 17, 2019 and it is expected to be completed on October 16, 2020.