Shangombo UPND member of parliament Mubika Mubika says the PF-led government has neglected his constituency as they continuously ignore his appeal to construct the Sioma-Shangombo Road.
Mubika complained that while government was constructing roads in other parts of the country, it had neglected his constituency.
In an interview, Mubika said Minster of Housing and Infrastructure Development Ronald Chitotela rejected an offer by a Chinese contractor to renovate the Sioma-Shangombo road on a credit basis, saying government had no funds.
“The biggest hindrance of development in Shangombo is the road; the road from Sioma to Shangombo is in a very deplorable state! So at the moment, even businessmen, it is very expensive for them to hire trucks from Lusaka to bring their merchandise to the district. And even when it comes to passenger transportation by cars, I am sure the Shangombo route is the most expensive in the country because from Senanga to Shangombo, people are paying as much as K320 if you are lucky, and that’s for a Corolla that’s loading 7 people, you can imagine 7 people in a Corolla, and travelling on a very bad road. The road is in a very bad state, I am in the constituency as we are talking and my car right now, the springs are broken, I am using a tree to come back to Lusaka, and that’s a new car. Even trucks that were hired to bring farming inputs from Lusaka were getting stuck in Sioma and Nangweshi, they are failing to come to Shangombo! So, delivery of farming inputs has also been delayed because of the road, people can’t take their farm produce to market because the area has no good roads, and as MP, I can’t manage to work on the roads, it’s very expensive! So, the road is what is causing all these hardships to the people,” Mubika lamented.
And Mubika disclosed that Chitotela rejected an offer by a Chinese contractor to renovate the Sioma–Shangombo road.
“What I can say is that government is segregating the people of Shangombo because I can tell you, there was a Chinese contractor who [was] doing the road from Sioma, they had approached me, they said they had material, which could renovate the road up to 80 kilometres coming towards Shangombo, and that if government could commit that they were going to pay, instead of those materials going to waste, they were ready to work on the road. They were even ready to do the road up to Shangombo if government committed to pay half of what they were going to cater for. Honourable Chitotela can’t deny that, I engaged him with the same Chinese consultant, but he said: ‘no, we don’t have money.’ Even when someone was saying, we can do the road using the materials that are already on site, but the Minister still refused, so who would you blame there? It’s 100% neglect!” Mubika said.
“If the PF can say they have been neglecting the people of Shangombo based on politics and voting, that would be so wrong! The last MP who was there, Poniso Njeulu, was working with the PF. He was UPND, but started working with the PF and was appointed Western Province Minister and later contested on PF, although he lost. When they were by-elections for local government somewhere in 2014 and 2015, they won three council seats after promising the people that they will tar the road. The Vice President herself came to Shangombo on about two or three occasions, promising the people that they would put tarred road in the area. This is 2019, it’s four years! So, I blame the government, it is neglect by government!”
Mubika said pupils in Shangombo could not learn computer lessons as the area still had no electricity.
“The other time when I asked government to connect Shangombo to the national grid from Sioma, they said ‘no, maybe 2022’ that information is in public domain. And the same government said it is now compulsory to teach computers in all government schools, but how do you expect pupils in Shangombo to learn computers when government has failed to provide, even solar energy, at least at government institutions so that pupils can be taught computers, unlike just being shown how a computer looks like and later asked to draw them. Even mobile phone network; we were supposed to have five towers, which were supposed to have been put up in 2014 and 2015, but none of the towers have been put up to-date, so even communication is a struggle in Shangombo! So, this is clearly failure on the part of government,” Mubika said.
He said unlike PF, the MMD managed to work on the roads in the area during their time.
“On the part of the MMD, they did something for the area, they are the ones who did the gravel road from Matebele to Shangombo, which is still there. I can confirm that we used to do every after two years, we used to gravel or grade the road. But from the time the PF came into power, this road from Shangombo to somewhere in Mbovuma was last graded in 2010, that’s about 9 years ago. I don’t think a gravel road can survive for nine years without being graded because normally it should be graded every after the rainy season or at least every after two years. Transport was cheaper here during the MMD government, I personally and other people, we used to run Rosa buses from Senanga to Shangombo, people were paying between K100 and K120, but because of the bad road, those vehicles were damaged and are packed, it was too expensive to maintain them! So, people now shun bringing their vehicles to Shangombo, for you to bring your vehicle here, you have to be strong,” said Mubika.