Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa has asked the Road Development Agency (RDA) to “stay in its lane” and avoid overstepping into his duties.
Sampa was reacting to the installation of traffic lights at the junction of Los Angeles Boulevard and Nyerere Road in Kabulonga which he said he had no idea about as Mayor.
In a Facebook post, Sampa said the agency did not consult his office before installing the lights, which he said he had worsened congestion.
“So both the Town Clerk Mr Alex Mwansa and I know nothing about the Traffic lights installed over the weekend by the Golf Club on Los Angels road. We have been told it may be RDA who installed them. Meantime, that function is for councils according to the Constitution. How do we work ba RDA? Can we keep to our lanes,” the post read.
And Sampa further explained to News Diggers in an interview that he would decide what to do about the traffic lights once he got a full report from the Town Clerk.
“We are the ones as the council who are supposed to put and remove traffic lights. So we just woke up and we found those traffic lights, we know nothing. And we discovered that it’s RDA that put them there. At minimum they should ave discussed with us because it’s our role to put and remove traffic light. Then the public is outraged about those traffic lights and they are attacking the Mayor and the Council when we know nothing about that. The public is complaining that traffic has tripled, it’s going all the way to Kabulonga roundabout and they are getting late for work or to drop their kids…RDA did not engage us, so I don’t think we need to engage them. I will just wait for a full report from the Town Clerk on why they did it and more so without consulting us. Then we will make a decision beyond that,” said Sampa.
But in a separate interview, RDA corporate affairs manager Masuzyo Ndhlovu said the authority consulted the council on its intentions to mount traffic lights at various points in Lusaka.
“Of course we do work hand in hand with the local authorities throughout the country because the Public Roads Act has that delegated responsibility and you would realise that even here in Lusaka for instance, we are also involved in upgrading and rehabilitating of roads. So there are traffic lights which we have installed before as RDA, for instance those traffic lights which are at UTH junction. So from time to time we have consulted the council, for instance at one point we consulted the council because about 25 traffic junctions were initially identified in consultation with the council. But then later on after investigations, it was discovered that maybe only nine junctions required that facility,” said Ndhlovu.
“So just as a pilot, we just tried by installing traffic lights at the Los Angels Golf Club junction and so we are just monitoring the situation at the moment, meaning that if we see that the intention of why we installed those traffic lights is not being met in terms of regulating of traffic then we will decommission those light. The whole idea is to help with congestion, especially during peak hours like in the morning and later on in the evening. So if that doesn’t work well, we have timed those lights and if we see that it’s not serving the purpose then definitely we’ll decommission those lights.”