HONE SIAME, Kitwe
THE Patriotic Front (PF) government has continued making great strides in uplifting the living standards of the citizens through its accelerated infrastructure development programme with the latest being the newly-constructed Mufuchani Bridge across the crocodile-infested Kafue River in Kitwe.
President Lungu last Saturday commissioned the masterpiece of the bridge in Kitwe that has been constructed at K63 million for the PF administration to record another milestone in the delivery of quality infrastructure in line with its 2011 campaign promises.
The construction of Mufuchani Bridge, which had been on the drawing board for many years, commenced in 2013 when Government, through the Road Development Agency (RDA), contracted China Henan to construct a permanent bridge across the river to make the movement of the residents easy.
The project, like the Michael Chilufya Sata Bridge in Chiawa, was funded by the World Bank to help alleviate the problems people used to face when there was no permanent crossing resulting in the loss of many lives.
President Lungu paid tribute to the late republican President and founder of the ruling PF Michael Chilufya Sata for initiating the construction of the Mufuchani Bridge.
Mr Lungu says the construction of the bridge demonstrates Governmentâ€™s commitment towards improving peopleâ€™s living standards through the provision of the necessary infrastructure.
The head of State is happy that the newly-constructed 160 metres bridge will easy access for the people to social amenities such as schools, clinics and markets.
â€œI am particularly pleased that my Government has continued to deliver projects we promised to our people. You will recal that, it is barely a month when I handed over two completed major road and bridge projects in Western Province, that is, the Mongu-Kalabo road and the Sioma Bridge.
â€œI am glad that these projects were successfully delivered to the people of Western Province and Zambia despite setbacks as may be expected with projects of such a magnitude. We do what we promise,â€ President Lungu said.
The absence of a permanent crossing at Mufuchani was not only a hindrance to the growth and development of Kitwe but it also posed serious social problems for the people of that area who used to rely on a pontoon and dug-out canoes to cross.
â€œFor many years, people relied on a pontoon to cross the crocodile-infested Kafue River while others resorted to using dug-out canoes, particularly when the pontoon was malfunction. Many of our people lost their lives in accidents while trying to cross the river.
As Government, we could not allow the problems associated with lack of a permanent crossing here to continue. The new Mufuchani Bridge is a living monument and testimony of the PF governmentâ€™s commitment to improving peopleâ€™s living standards through provision of development infrastructure. Those who mock you that you canâ€™t eat roads, tell them that here the bridge and road mean more than just eating but saving lives,â€ President Lungu said.
In order to realise the full economic benefits of the bridge and envisaged future development, President Lungu says Government will soon upgrade the road from Mufuchani Bridge, which is on earth road, to bituminous standards.
The Kitwe City Council also has plans to develop the area by putting up a new town in the same area with private developers already on the ground to establish a housing complex to provide decent accommodation for the residents and other towns.
President Lungu expressed sadness to learn that some unscrupulous people have already started vandalising electricity cables and other installations on the bridge that has been constructed at a huge cost.
He said the retrogressive act forced the RDA to spend additional funds to replace vandalised cables and other installations to reinforce the bridge and prevent vandals from causing further damage.
President Lungu directed the provincial administration to work with the Copperbelt police command to establish a police post in the area and urged residents of Kawama and Mufuchani townships to report the vandals to the police.
â€œSuch acts need to be condemned in the very strongest terms because they amount to sabotage. Not only are the vandals reversing Governmentâ€™s efforts to improve infrastructure, but they are also negating development and endangering the lives of road users by compromising safety features that have been provided on the bridge,â€ President Lungu said.
The head of State revealed that the road covering approximately 48 kilometres will be constructed to run from Mufuchani Bridge to join the Ndola-Mufulira road and also from Mufuchani Bridge to join the Ndola-Kitwe dual carriageway near Zamtan.
This is aimed at providing a by-pass for travellers from Ndola to Mufulira without passing through Kitweâ€™s town centre.
Mr Lungu said the PF administration will continue with its drive to provide the necessary infrastructure to the Zambian people throughout the country.
â€œOur commitment stems from our firm belief that infrastructure such as roads and bridges is a catalyst to national development,â€ President Lungu said.
President Lungu showered accolades on the World Bank for funding the construction of Mufuchani and Chiawaâ€™s Micheal Chilufya Sata bridges and its continued support to infrastructure development in the country.
â€œAs we move the country forward, there will always be those who have no idea how Government work and who will perpetually criticise our efforts. Ignore them and focus on issues that matter. You should also be asking them to point at what they have done for Zambia.
â€œWe have a job to do and they have noise to make. As we seek another five-year mandate, we can only promise that we shall do more for our people who have given us tremendous trust. We shall return your trust and together we shall win,â€ President Lungu said.
Minister of Works and Supply Yamfwa Mukanga, in a speech read for him by Minister of Justice Ngosa Simbyakula, commended the contractor China Henan, RDA and the rest of the people that were involved for delivering a quality product.
Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge said the people of the Copperbelt would remain indebted to the PF administration for the unprecedented development taking place in the province that include the upgrading of the Kiwe-Chingola road into a dual carriageway, the C-400 road project and the full rehabilitation of the Chingola- Solwezi road.
And Kitwe district commissioner Chanda Kabwe says the residents of Kitwe are grateful to the PF for fulfilling its campaign promise on the long-awaited construction of the Mufuchani Bridge across the crocodile-infested Kafue River in Kitwe.
Mr Kabwe said the residents of Kitwe are happy that PF administration has continued delivering the major projects it promised the citizenry before assuming office.
â€œOn behalf of the Kitwe residents, I would like to thank the PF government for yet again delivering on its campaign promises by constructing the Mufuchani Bridge, which was commissioned on Saturday by our hard working President. The bridge is a dream come true for the people of Kitwe, who have witnessed the loss of so many lives on that crocodile-infested river,â€ an elated Mr Kabwe said.
There is no doubt that infrastructure such as roads and bridges the PF is putting up across the country catalysts to national economic development.
HONE SIAME, Kitwe