SINAZONGWE UPND member of parliament Gift Sialubalo has asked government to consider working on the Batoka – Maamba road as it helps victims whose houses were recently washed away by flash floods.
Last week, over 50 houses were submerged along with crops in Sinazeze area after heavy rains, forcing people to relocate to an unfinished modern market whose construction had stalled.
The Sinazongwe lawmaker told News Diggers! in an interview that while the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) had distributed relief food and other support material to flood victims, he bemoaned that the impact the flood had was too much for residents to bear.
“The government, of course, we appreciate gave some relief food, clothing and also bedding. But the disaster was quite huge and a lot of roads have been badly damaged. So, this will need a lot of funding because even some bridges were washed away. So, they will need major funding actually as soon as the rains stabilise. An MP alone cannot afford to repair that kind of damage, government has a bigger pocket than an MP. So, government should put it as priority that in Sinazongwe, there are these roads that were badly damaged by the floods,” Sialubalo said.
He further said the Batoka – Maamba road was is the only economic route to Sinazongwe.
“The Batoka – Maamba road is extremely bad! It has never received any major face lift for many years. You are aware that even when we had this load-shedding, we were talking of Maamba Colleries as the supplement to shortage of power. But we were not paying any attention to the Batoka – Maamba road so that at least it can also boost the investment prospects. There is an investor, who wants to invest in the same thermal plant in Tekelo Ward, but when you have such a bad road, how do you attract investors? Investors will shy away! So, my appeal to the government is that, please, Sinazongwe is a part of Zambia, it is not in Zimbabwe where you can say, ‘they don’t vote.’ From the budgetary allocations, there is nothing that the government can point at to say, ‘such an amount since 2016 to-date has gone to Sinazongwe’. Apart from the CDF that I receive sometimes, there has never been a major project that has been done. Those which were done before 2016 have also been abandoned just like the modern market where we are housing these affected victims,” complained Sialubalo.
“Then, works of the Sinazeze-Sinazongwe road, a stretch of about 14 kilometres, which they were saying would be done to bituminous standards, have stalled! They stalled somewhere around 2015 and that is the road that has really been damaged with these rains that we have received. You talk of the bottom road from Chiyabi to Siampondo, yes, in 2016 the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, commissioned the bottom road right in Sinazongwe at Sinazeze, but to-date, we haven’t seen any activity concerning the uplifting of the bottom road; all we hear is that there are some activities in Gwembe, but in Sinazongwe, we haven’t seen any. That is since 2016 to-date.”