Written by Gift Asibu:
Malawi’s Roads Authority has provided assurance to the public that the ongoing rehabilitation of the Kaphatenga-Salima to Benga-Nkhotakota M5 road will be finished by the end of 2024.
Portia Kajanga, the Public Relations Officer for the Authority, revealed that the contractor, a Chinese firm known as China Railway (CR20), has been engaged in preliminary work, which includes resource mobilization, and this phase has already been completed.
This information was shared during a community engagement meeting held at BvyoBvyo in the area of Senior Chief Mwadzama in Nkhotakota district, where officials from the Roads Authority interacted with local residents.
During the meeting, community members were cautioned against constructing within the road reserve boundaries, as this could disrupt the ongoing rehabilitation work.
Kajanga explained, “The contractor CR20 has been on the ground, mobilizing resources and recruiting workers during the initial phase. We are impressed with the progress, and at present, only 13 months remain for the project’s completion.”
According to Kajanga, the Authority has compensated some landowners whose land was utilized for the project, but approximately 600 individuals whose trees were planted along the targeted road section are still awaiting compensation.
Precious Kondowe, Nkhotakota District Land Officer, highlighted the importance of these engagements in resolving certain disputes with locals.
“The meeting has been critical in resolving some of the issues that could have disrupted the construction process, including the matter of compensation. Constructive discussions have taken place with individuals,” said Kondowe.
Kondowe also emphasized the need for civic education to inform people about the road reserve boundaries to prevent the issue of construction within these boundaries.
“We will conduct frequent visits to educate people about the importance of not building within the reserves, and this will be carried out by council officials as this can be an ongoing issue,” he explained.
The rehabilitation project for the 60-kilometer Kaphatenga-Salima to Benga-Nkhotakota road, which began last year, is scheduled for completion next year, with an estimated cost of approximately K3.7 billion.