Disaster in making, Mazabuka-Kafue Road

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By Nicholas Phiri

It is obvious. I’m not the first one, neither will I be the last one to say this: We have a national disaster in making in Southern Province, not any different from the black mountain which claimed lives of 10 “scavengers” in June 2018.

By the way, we had warned about the black mountain, but maybe you didn’t hear about it. House owners around the black mountain cried against the effects of illegal blasting on their housing units, somehow their cry was not loud enough to reach State House.

I’m hoping that somehow “the system” can bring this to your attention. I have no doubt you are a listening leader. Please look at the Mazabuka Turn Park stretch Your Excellency.

It is difficult to tell whether you get to know the truth about public opinion and feelings but I’m sure the “system” knows. It is effective when dealing with defermation of Your Excellency on cyber space. Surely it must be even more effective when dealing with our issues because without us, you and your system are nothing your Excellency.

It is difficult to know what you care about and what you don’t care about Your Excellency because we get to hear from you when you are about to fly out. But I’m sure you care about Zambians. Please respond to the cry of road users heading to Mazabuka either when flaying out or in doesn’t matter. All we need is the road fixed.

Unless something is done expeditiously, the road between Mazabuka and Turn Park will cost Zambia human lives. They could be scavengers your Excellency, but to us they are our bread winners, fathers, uncles, cousins and sons. They are our heroes who die fighting for a decent living from honest sources than those leaders in your government your Excellency who can’t account for a hundred fold increase of their net worthy within 16 months.

During the Gonde ceremony, an annual event for Tonga people of Southern Zambia, one of the traditional leaders said that Tongas, who are the majority in southern province of Zambia, must learn to go about life without government. The same Mazabuka- Turn Park road was cited as an example of government’s discriminatory behaviour towards the Province and its people.

In Government’s wisdom, the Gonde ceremony was not attended by representatives of the government of the day in line with standard practice. This too does not help matters. I will return to this issue however at an appropriate time. For now, let me deal with the national disaster in making.

You see your Excellency, there are several conspiracy theories about the lack of maintenance of the said road. One of those theories is that your government does not care about Southern Province because you lost embarrassingly during the 2016 election in Southern Zambia.

On face value, this looks to be a foolish conception, of course in my view. On a second thought, maybe I need to reassess my position on this issue? But no, I give you a benefit of doubt Your Excellency.

I find it difficult to buy into this theory for several reasons. Even a fool knows that the road in question is an economically viable public good. It links our national agriculture belt to the rest of the country.

This explains why the road has 2 Toll Plazas in a stretch of about 350km. Livingston bound traffic would have to pay tolls three times from Lusaka. It’s significance to macro economic sustainability cannot be ignored.

For starters, you know Your Excellency just like everyone else who cares to know that you did not campaign as heavily in the Province as you did else where. Surely the votes you got must make you happy.

Only Mwansa Kapwepwe managed to win an election without campaigning. Of course, he was and still is a celebrated national hero, unmatched by any politician of your time.

Secondly, the road is not exclusively used by Tonga people. When and if a disaster emanating from the poor state of that road strikes, it will not choose who to strike on the basis of tribe. I share the same tribal roots with you Your Excellency, if you come from Petauke, and yet I felt unsafe driving on that road.

Thirdly, the theory ignores a simple economic fact that roads are financed from public resources to which the people of Southern Province are contributing in several ways including road tolls. People tend to forget that you are a President for Dundumwezi too as much as you are for Kasenengwa. Your people use the same road.

I know my President, a great, humble, God given, fearing and ordained leader of this great nation. He is above such foolish thinking and tribal politics as can be seen from the balance of his cabinet.

Notwithstanding, I must confess that the state of that road as seen during my drive to the tourist capital on June 5th has left me confused. Do you care about Southern Province and its people?

I don’t know whether to dismiss what I initially thought was a foolish theory or reassess my faculties? Why would any reasonable government punish its citizens like that for holding and subscribing to a certain political worldview which is not illegal? I’m confused!

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4 Responses to Disaster in making, Mazabuka-Kafue Road

  1. Most tongas don’t even use that road. to visit each other in the villages they use other paths. its people from Lusaka and Copperbelt who use the road to go to Livingstone so who is being punished, Ifwe twikala mu province mwiine so no issue. niimwe ba kuunse mwe bachula lweenu. Napwisha ine.

    Nchuushi
    July 10, 2018 at 4:14 pm
    Reply

  2. ALL Zambians are legal and equal citizens of the country who deserve equal services. That is the right conferred through citizenship. The government should utilize tax payer money to pay to fix the road. What are they doing with toll revenue if not maintaining roads?
    Which tribe uses the road is so besides the point, Nchushi.

    Jeez Zambians WAKE UP. It’s your country as citizens, not PF’s personal bank account to do what they want.

    newbie
    July 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm
    Reply

  3. Who is he punishing? Tourists. People stop paying tolls. Boycot. Chapwa.

    Jordan chulu
    July 12, 2018 at 3:25 am
    Reply

  4. If you think Mazabuka-Kafue is a deal, you ain’t seen nothing yet brother! Travel from TBZ to beyond Kaoma on the road to Mungu Barotseland, then you will know the truth. If that isn’t enough, go from 15Km after Sesheke to close to Kazungula, and if that’s not enough still, travel from Nakonde to Isoka, then you will know what a white man meant when he said “Zambian roads are not any different from plowed surfaces”. A government that cares for ALL its citizens in equal measure within its borders would not have thought of building a dual carriage highway before fixing these three roads. But again like Pilato just sang, “this is Zambia” I dare add, for you!

    Warlord
    July 13, 2018 at 2:47 pm
    Reply

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