Chinese Embassy disowns Kyungu Bridge wash way as Chinese contractor’s fault

Scope of work did not include construction and strengthening of the bridge

The People’s Republic of China Embassy in Malawi disowns attribution to the wash away of the Kyungu Bridge in Karonga that has been attributed to the Chinese contractors, Zhejiang Communications Group Co. Ltd, saying the scope of work the company was contracted to do on Karonga-Songwe Road did not include construction and strengthening of this bridge.

This comes amidst the death of three people — a Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officer and his other two friends — from the Immigration Department officer — who died on Wednesday night (April 21) after the car they were travelling in plunged into a flooded river when they failed to notice that the Kyungu Bridge had been washed away by strong rain water flow.

Washed away bridge evidence of poor workmanship

Soon after the death of the three, Vice-President Saulos Chilima — who was in the North inspecting some development projects at the instructions of President Lazarus Chakwera — visited the spot of the accident in the company of Paramount Chief Kyungu himself.

He said in a statement on Facebook that the focus was to re-open traffic by the next day in which works was to fill up the washed away section with 120 trucks of quarry and rocks.

“Issues of negligence and poor workmanship will be handled later, but for now the focus is to open traffic by tomorrow,” Chilima said.

The Roads Authority then issued a statement after the bridge was temporary opened for traffic that the washed away bridge was constructed in the late 1980s when the road was being constructed but being a “problematic area it also got washed away in 2002”.

The Roads Authority attests to the fact that “during the Karonga-Songwe rehabilitation project, the scope of works did not include construction of the Kyungu Bridge, but the road was rehabilitated, where the existing road was milled down to 200mm and this material was processed to make sub-base”.

“The milled material was crushed stone, and another 150mm thick layer of crushed stone was constructed. The wearing course was constructed in 40mm thick asphalt concrete [as done by] the contractor Zhejiang Communications Group Co. Ltd”.

But the Roads Authority says “due to the proximity of the contractor to the wash away site” Zhejiang Communications Group Co. Ltd “has been asked to reinstate the washed away section” to which the Chinese Embassy has responded.

The Embassy says it has communicated with the Malawi Roads Authority and takes cognizance that “the bridge was constructed in the late 1980s and Zhejiang Communications Group Co. Ltd’s scope of work did not include the construction and strengthening of Kyungu Bridge”.

This comes after strong word of warning from Chilima that poor workmanship by contractors will not be tolerated especially when he learnt of the tragic incident that involved the wash-away at Kyungu Bridge that also stopped essential economic traffic flow between Malawi and Tanzania.

Vice President Chilima and Paramount Chief Kyungu

“I had to travel back to Karonga to have a clear understanding of the problem and mobilise the right minds to work around the clock and find a solution as quickly as possible,” reported Chilima in a statement made on Facebook.

He reported that his visit to the North was to inspect and appreciate the implementation of public projects as well as tracking progress of public sector reforms in councils.

He visited projects in Mzimba, Karonga, Rumphi and Mzuzu City, as well as in Nkhata Bay where the Northern Region Water Board is implementing a US$30.5 million water supply project that will benefit 60,000 people through improvement in water supply and sanitation by November, 2022.

“The project will upgrade the treatment plant from the current 1,450 cubic metres/day to 20,000 cubic metres/day as well as upgrade transmission lines to reach 29kms.

“It has become important to monitor progress of these projects to understand the challenges so that projects are delivered within schedule without cost overruns.”

He said later, he held reform meetings with Nkhata Bay and Likoma District Councils, who “have demonstrated that processes are being done which will translate into results that will benefit not only the Council but the people of these districts”.

“I continued stressing that the financial sustainability of councils is non-negotiable. Following the 1998 devolution policy now under review, councils should aim to be independent of central government by implementing various projects to meet people’s needs.

“Councils must learn to prioritise things that will give them gains with minimal interventions, particularly in the social sectors. These projects can be phased in order of priority and ease of implementation. Malawians do not have the luxury of waiting, they have waited too long.

“It is the wish of the Tonse Alliance administration, through His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Republic, that funding is identified to complete major projects within the stipulated time,” he reported.

Among others, Chilima also inspected Chakazi bridge in Mzimba an important bridge that connects Mzimba Boma to Euthini and Mbalachanda, which is being constructed in phases with the first part involving erecting pillars for which the contractor already completed the works and was paid.

He also inspected the Mzuzu Aquaculture Centre, a project that is set to enhance fish production at a large scale in the city.

“I encouraged the authorities to take the initiative as a model that could be replicated in other places across the country.

“Otherwise, I have had a fruitful working visit in the north. It was a marathon programme but we had to do it in five days because we also have the Eastern and Southern regions to visit to inspect projects as well as monitor progress of Reforms in Councils.

“On top of that, we have three weeks to go before we submit a Recommendation Report on the three government systems of Procurement, Allowances and Employment Contracts as mandated by His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi.”

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
20 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Benjones87
Benjones87
19 days ago

All the roads in Malawi are dangerous. The zomba road is sub standard and has killed at least 10 in 2 years. Also there is an accident daily. I want chilima to include inspection of this road then he is visiting South.

James mpata
James mpata
19 days ago

The Road Authority should be given the ultimate sentence and that is firing the entire management team. We have had enough.

Dausee
Dausee
19 days ago

They are too many dull comments on this issue.

If you tell any contractor to construct a road that will last only for two days they will do it. If you want one that will last a life time they will do it.

We are busy blaming the contractors instead of looking at the root cause; the authorities that give the scope of the works.

malawi
20 days ago

Why Malawi government hire contractors from that far CHINA , Why I repeat again why ? South Africa isvery near with Malawi and they are very good contractors in all sectors. Better than CHINESE contractors . Those who hired the chinese for this road must answer in court

VYOTO
VYOTO
20 days ago

VERY DISAPPOINTING EXPLANATIONS FROM ROADS AUTHORITY AND CHINESE EMBASSY.IF I WERE THE PRESIDENT I COULD HAVE FIRED THE RA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER BY NOW FOR NEGLIGENCE.

AS OTHERS HAVE COMMENTED, WHY WAS THE STRENGTHENING OF THE BRIDGE NOT ACCORDED A PRIORITY????????????????

SES
SES
20 days ago

MR AMBASSADOR TOO QUICK TO REFUTE ALLEGATIONS OF POOR WORKMANSHIP OF HIS HOME CONTRACTOR. CHINESE ARE POPULAR WITH POOR WORKMANSHIP OUTSIDE CHINA FOR REASONS BEST KNOWN TO CHINESE THEMSELVES .

Prosper
Prosper
20 days ago
Reply to  SES

In this particular case the chinese ambassador has said rehabilitation of the bridge was not within the scope of works. So why do we continue to blame the chinese contractor?

SES
SES
19 days ago
Reply to  Prosper

No proof of scope nor any advice made for the concerned bridge when the Chinese were working in the area . Chinese projects in most parts of Africa experience complaints which implies lack of quality.

Mdala
Mdala
20 days ago

It is not only the Chinese contractor, who should be blamed, it is the Ministry and their Road Authority (RA), who should be punished for it! Lets face it, most of our bridges are death traps, never or half hearted inspected by RA! They are not save or secured, especially along the lakeshore against weather conditions like this! Corruption, lack and shortage of funds or that funds for roads get wasted otherwise, is a big problem!

CITIZEN
CITIZEN
20 days ago

And yet the stupid clueless government will continue offering projects to these Chinese people. Before you know it, the Chinese built stadium will collapse on fans; the Parliament building will collapse on MPs and possibly the president, and all those houses being built by the Chinese will collapse on people just because ‘the scope of work did not include strengthening of these structure.’
Am not being a soothsayer, this is the reality of our Malawi.

Max
Max
20 days ago
Reply to  CITIZEN

This clueless government is the one that give this half baked contract to the Chinese. Read for yourself. Scope of work did not include rehabilitation of this bridge.

Ochewa
Ochewa
19 days ago
Reply to  CITIZEN

But did the contractor advise the roads authority and government? If not why? Haven’t we seen recently a contractor pulling out from the bidding race in a move to avoid substandard work?

urgt
urgt
20 days ago

You work with the Chinese you get problems.

Marium Barak
Marium Barak
20 days ago

It is high time the Roads Authority take it seriously the responsibility of inspections done on roads infrastructure when making infrastructure maintenance plan. How can somebody leave out the important infrastructure on the scope of works for maintenance without being very sure that such an infrastructure could stand another 50 years. From little knowledge I have obtained through google, Bridges are supposed to be designed to last a minimum of 50 years.

shares
Read previous post:
Archbishop Msusa praises Chakwera on Covid-19 safety measures

'Don't be misled.' The Archbishop of Blantyre Archdiocese, His Grace Thomas Luke Msusa has applauded President Chakwera for taking up...

Close