The release of K222 million for construction of township roads in Solwezi district is a developmental milestone that will leave an imprint in the lives of the local people. 

I say a milestone because the district has never in its existence had tarred township roads. The state in which the so called township roads are is pathetic because they are the source of dust and mud that characterises townships during the dry and rainy seasons. 

The district has existed as a provincial town for north western province since independence with foot paths which over time have become township roads. 

This scenario to a great extent justifies the manner housing units in townships are setup. There is no linear or organised plan to the way houses are developed. As a result of this the district has neither streets nor house numbers.  

Worse still, locating a business premise is a nightmare if it is not along the M8 road, which runs through the central business district from the Copperbelt. To cope with life under such circumstances, one locates an area or place by the nearest feature.  

The poor state of township roads has been a major hindrance to the economic growth of the district observes Goodson Nshimbi, a local entrepreneur. 

With increasing population and business opportunities created by huge investments in the mining industry, a good road network is inevitable in Solwezi. 

Were the cost of living is very high, people expect basic social services to be available to at least justify this cost but it is not the case.

“It is easy for anyone to mistake the district for a former war zone, things do just add up here” echoed Paul Masumba, a senior citizen. 

North- western permanent secretary Amos Malupenga noted when addressing village headmen and women of the Lunda Lubanza cultural association of Zambezi district that unless township roads are worked on, people will not appreciate the benefits of other projects that government has being implementing aimed at improving their living standards. 

“Township roads are a major issue not only here but in all the districts in the province. People have come to believe that government has neglected them yet there are developmental projects going on in every district which people do not know about because they cannot access the services easily.” Mr Malupenga said. 

The PS observed “every good thing government is doing for the people are being overshadowed by the poor state of township roads.” 

Goodson Nshimbi, an entrepreneur, however, feels that having a good road network will open townships; improve mobility of goods and services that are necessary for the wellbeing of the people.  

“Not only will the roads enhance the living standards of the people it will also add value to the profile of the district, which is an essential ingredient to attract local investment,” he said.
  
Solwezi Mayor Ezekiel Mulonga is optimistic that the road network will definitely impact positively on the cost of living as well as doing business.   

‘We are grateful to PF administration for fulfilling the promise to work on township roads, with tarred roads a lot of things will change. I cannot wait to see the new roads and am appealing to the residents to cooperate and ensure works are done to the satisfaction of the community,” Mayor Mulonga added.

 “There are many economic opportunities that have remained dormant and am looking forward to having more investors not only in the mining sectors but in other sectors too”, Mayor Mulonga observed.

The Mayor said during this year’s first quarter council meeting that K 222 million will be spent on construction of township roads in the district. Government has contracted China Geo Company to construct the Kandudu, Police road, Medical Center, Messenger road, College and Kikombe township roads. 

The fulfillment of the long awaited dream of the people in Solwezi is finally coming to pass, a total of 30.5 kilometres of the township roads will be worked on. 

Certainly, this is a milestone developmental project, which will erase the frustration of the people that have been burning for a long time. The sense of belonging will be restored in many lives of the local residents as their cry to feed from the national cake will be evident. 

The contractor is mobilising to move on site following the provision of land by the council for setting up its camp. 

While it is true administrations come and go, but the projects they initiate remain their foot print for everyone to see.