Written by Ivy Tunkete Mwanyongo:
Residents of Rumphi East will experience further delays in accessing a tar-marked road, as the Ministry of Transport has not yet finalized designs for the proposed section from Mlowe to Usisya.
Minister of Transport Jacob Hara tells Umunthu FM that the Ministry is currently working on designing the road, taking into consideration the rocky landscape of the area.
While acknowledging the challenges faced by the local population, Hara says the construction of the tar-marked road might commence either next year or the following year.
He stated, “It’s true that residents in Mlowe, Zunga, up to Usisya area have been eagerly awaiting a tar-marked road. However, the Ministry’s attempts have been impeded by the rocky landscape, making passage difficult.”
Hara revealed plans to tackle the issue by clearing large rocks from Chiweta to Mlowe this year to facilitate easier access while awaiting final design approvals.
In a separate interview, Henry Kajilange, Operations Manager for Great North Transformation, a group advocating for government attention on the issue, alleged that the government prioritizes development in the southern and central regions over the northern region.
“It’s a challenge that all government structures are located in the southern and central regions. Convincing politicians to invest in the north is very difficult, despite the crucial importance of the road needed from Mlowe to Usisya,” he said.
“Despite ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Transport, the roads authority, and local government, it appears they are unwilling to undertake the road construction. We wonder what we have done wrong as Northerners to deserve no road,” added Kajilange.
He affirmed the group’s steadfast commitment to advocating for road construction until their demands are met.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport has announced intentions to construct a unified road network linking the lakeshore districts in the northern and southern regions.