LOCAL Government Minister Charles Banda says the drainages in Lusaka were overwhelmed by the heavy downpour of rain on Monday, causing floods.

And Banda refused to comment on the statement by the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ), that the Alick Nkhata flyover bridge should be demolished, stating that the bridge was not the responsibility of his Ministry.

In an interview with News Diggers, Banda said the 140-millimetre downpour experienced on Monday was a disaster that could not be controlled.

“Government is doing everything possible and we shall do everything possible to ensure that we have enough drainage in Lusaka and all other towns. What you will need to know first of all is don’t just look at them as just floods, you should know the volume of the floods that we had the other day. Usually, we have what they call the 40 millimeters downpour, this one was 140, which would have overwhelmed any type of drainage system even if we had done anything new to it. From 40 to 140 millimetres, that was a disaster and something that we cannot control, very very unexpected,” Banda said.

“So those are things that come unexpectedly and they can even overwhelm a very efficient drainage system. But, all in all, we are doing everything possible to ensure that the drainage system in Lusaka especially is updated for any normal rainfall. For calamities like that one, it is a pity that it was that way that someone cannot control. We didn’t even anticipate it. The rains were just too much, like I told you, they overwhelmed our drainage systems. That was a calamity.”

And the Minister refused to comment on EIZ’s statement that Alick Nkhata bridge should be demolished, stating that the bridge was not a Local Government issue and was not part of the Lusaka decongestion project.

“That bridge, we have nothing to do with that bridge as the Ministry of Local Government. We don’t supervise RDA who were responsible for that so why should we be the ones commenting? I have told every officer in my Ministry [that] no one should talk about that bridge because it is not under our mandate and I have said [this] time and again. It is not under us at all, none of my engineers took part in that and it is not under our authority; that is why we are not supposed to comment on it, my directors, my PS, whichever officer from my Ministry [who] would be talking about it will be talking in their own capacity [and] not representing the Ministry. It is not even part of the Lusaka decongestion [project], that bridge was constructed by the developers in the area who were authorised by RDA to go ahead and do that construction. So it is not us to talk about whether it is a good bridge or not,” said Banda.

And Lusaka City Town Clerk Alex Mwansa, in a statement, stated that the collapse of the side wall panel of the Bombay drainage was caused by the heavy rains experienced on Monday.

He said the collapsed part was approximately 140 meters long, with three panels having a total length of about 45 meters.

“The collapse of the side wall panel in Section 8.1 of the Bombay drain was instigated by the heavy rains experienced in the area on 21st December 2020. Section 8.1, is a stretch between Great East Road and Broads Road within the Rhodes Park area. The affected portion covers approximately 140 meters of the drainage side walls with three wall panels having a total length of about 45 meters collapsing, while the remaining 95 meters of panels did not collapse but were displaced and became misaligned vertically. MPCA-Zambia has since instructed the engineer to conduct investigations with a view to instructing the contractor to commence repair works of the damaged portion of the drain at no cost to Government using retention money withheld under the terminated contract with CMC,” said Mwansa.

“The Bombay drain stretches 21 Kilometers and has three start points near ZIPAS area (Junction of Tokyo highway and Chibwa road from St. Patricks School), Nationalist road near Gospel Envoy Church and Misisi areas. The drain stretches from the southern part of the City through the Central Business District and ending just after the Kasangula road bridge at the trash trap. It passes through Kamwala trading area, Chilenje, Libala, Kabwata area along Chilimbulu road, Rhodes Park, Thorn Park, Garden Compound, Roma, and Mazyopa. The Mazyopa drain is a 2.7 Kilometer extension past the end point of the Bombay drain. The terminal point of the Mazyopa drain discharges into the Ngwerere natural stream.”