GOVERNMENT should work on the Kashikishi-Lunchinda road in order to improve service delivery and enhance international trade between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Gallant Youth in Zambia (GYZ) has said.
The road could also link the Copperbelt to DR Congo, Zambia’s biggest trading partner in the COMESA and SADC region next to South Africa, through Luapula Province.
Executive director Henry Mulenga said that the stretch between Mununga and Chienge which used to take only 50 minutes when the road was in good shape now took over two hours. Thereby hampering service delivery and productivity of the people in the area. Mr. Mulenga said there was need for Governmnet to engage a contractor to immediately work on the road as it would improve the economic viability of the area and broaden its revenue base especially if the Lupiya border post was to be rehabilitated and turned into a one-stop border facility.
He said it was unfortunate that the road, which had been earmarked for construction since 2008, had been on Government plans since then without anything being done.
“The Kashikishi-Lunchinda road is in a bad state. From Kashikishi to Lupiya, the stretch is almost impassable. The distance from Mununga to Chienge used to take 50 minutes but now one has to endure two hours because the road is in a very state and this is why we are asking Governmnet to improve this facility.
“From 2008 to-date no much effort has been made to improve the road network yet the road has been on the blue print since then. This road has been on the papers since the time Gabriel Namulambe was Minister of Works and Supply and by now, people were expecting that the road should have been completed,” Mr. Mulenga said.
He observed that if the road was to be worked on, it would tremendously increase trade between the two countries.
“We have farmers and fishermen in these areas who depend on this same road to transport their produce to the markets. Because the road is not in good shape, they are now paying more towards transport costs and this is posing a challenge to them.
“If this road is worked on, it will open most of the areas along it to development. We anticipate that the Government can think of transforming the Lupiya border post into a one- stop facility. This will also raise the revenue base for both countries,” he said.
He said there was need for politicians to live up to their campaign promises as a departure from that led to voter apathy as the electorate felt cheated when their aspirations were not met.
“This road was even one of the campaign promises made by the current Member of Parliament Brig. Gen. Benson Kapaya before 2011 that it would be worked on. We are now going into another election without the promise being fulfilled. This, plus many others is the reason that make our electoral process experience voter apathy,” he said.