By CHUSA SICHONE in Chibombo District
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has pledged to improve the road network countrywide as that will spur economic development.
President Lungu said an improved road network enhanced commerce, trade, investment, job creation, good governance, evangelism and contact with the people, among other benefits.
The President said this in an interview with journalists after he inspected about one kilometre of the tarred portion of the Mungule Road, where his chopper landed around 09:30 hours, in Chibombo District yesterday.
“But you cannot have a good road without drainage, that you have seen, so we are saying a good road should be supported by good drainage and proper maintenance of the drainage and the road itself,” President Lungu said.
“Tolling has come, few appreciate and they are paying and so on. So, for me, this (good roads) is the way it should be all over Zambia,” President Lungu said.
And speaking when he called on Chieftainess Mungule of the Lenje people at her palace, President Lungu said he was impressed with the road works done by a local contractor despite although the pace was slow and pledged to push that more funds were released to complete the works.
The 14-kilometre Mungule Road is being tarred by Luvias Investment at a cost of K149,955, 364 of which K12 million had been paid and works, which started in September last year, were expected to be completed in November this year.
President Lungu also bemoaned the devastating impact that the dry spell has had to the maize in the area as it had wilted.
President Lungu said an improved road network would ease the distribution of relied food to the area in an event that the drought persisted.
He was, however, disappointed that Katuba United Party for National Development (UPND) Member of Parliament (MP) Patricia Mwashingwele opted to work in isolation and asked the chieftainess to urge her to work with the Government for the sake of her constituents.
He said it was clear that the dry spell was going to negatively affect the people in area and so he had expected Ms Mwashingwele to have contacted the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit and Ministry of Agriculture for possible intervention.
President Lungu was saddened that Ms Mwashingwele chose to be “aloof” from the Government and Patriotic Front (PF) lawmakers in Parliament for fear of being reprimanded by the UPND.
President Lungu cited UPND Kembe MP Princess Kasune who was reprimanded by the party after she joined him during the launch of the 2016-2017 planting season in Chisamba.
He noted that belonging to a political party had become more like a cult such that members of certain parties were not free to mingle with their opponents.
Mr Lungu said it was unfortunate the PF lost two previous parliamentary elections in Katuba Constituency, adding that there was need to vote for a progressive person who could work with everyone regardless of political affiliation.
Chieftainess Mungule, who spoke in Lenje interpreted by former Katuba MP Jonas Shakafuswa, thanked the Government for finally commencing works on the Mungule Road, saying it would spur development in her chiefdom.
The traditional ruler also commended President Lungu for the bold step
in fighting cholera and promote cleanliness thereby preventing the disease from spreading widely.
PF Secretary General Davies Mwila, Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga, Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale and Tourism Minister Charles Banda were among the entourage.