A Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officer and his other two friends from the Immigration Department officer, are reported to have died on Wednesday night after the car they were travelling in plunged into a flooded river whose bridge had been washed away by strong rain water flow in Karonga.
MRA Head of Corporate Affairs, Steven Kapoloma could only confirm the deaths of the MRA officer and the other two but could not yet identify their man nor the other victims.
Reports are that the three, who were stationed at Songwe Border, drove to Karonga Boma and on their way back at night they failed to notice that the bridge at Kyungu River had been washed away by heavy rain water flow.
They are reported to have plunged into the river and their car got swept away by the raging water flow. Their bodies were discovered down stream the following day.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is in the North inspecting some development projects at the instructions of President Lazarus Chakwera, took time to visit the spot in the company of Paramount Chief Kyungu himself.
He said in a statement on Facebook: “I have arrived at Kyungu Bridge. I extend my condolences to the families of the three people who died after the vehicles they were travelling in fell into the river.
“For now the focus will be to re-open traffic by tomorrow. The works will include filling 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.”
Rhodrick Junaid Kalumpha responded by saying: “Bwana, please we need to book the crooks who did the shoddy workmanship. We must start holding folks responsible for their actions.”
Innocent Mvulayakata also joined the attack on the contractor of this bridge and road, whose rehabilitation was done less than five years ago.
“Arrest and charge the contractor and the entire personnel involved in the piling and polishing up of this death trap and passing it as a bridge with murder or manslaughter at least — this nothing short of a criminal negligence,” Mvulayakata said.
On Wednesday, Chilima inspected construction projects of Njakwa-Livingstonia Road, Rumphi-Nyika-Chitipa Road and Rumphi Teachers Training College (TTC).
A report by Malawi News Agency’s Manasse Nyirenda in Rumphi said Chilima assured Malawians that the Njakwa-Livingstonia Road will be completed and ready for use by November this year and also promised to complete all projects that were started by the immediate-past administration.
Chilima told the media at Bolero in the district that for Njakwa-Livingstonia Road, Roads Fund Administration has assured him that funding would no longer be an issue and that the road would be completed within six months.
The VP also assured Malawians of government’s commitment to deliver quality projects to Malawians.
“My impression of the Livingstonia Njakwa is that the parts that have been done and which we have seen, there is still a lot of work to be done but one thing that is good is that the road is quite wide and because it is going to be used as an alternate to the M1.
“The design that we have agreed with Roads Authority is that all roads must be first grade. So, that assurance has been given. The commitment made is that the whole stretch spanning 73 kilometres will be completed committed in six months which basically means by November,” he said.
He attributed the slow progress in implementation of some campaign promises to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has slowed down economies across the world.
For Rumphi TTC, which is jointly funded by Malawi Government and a donor partner, he said he was impressed with the structure and was optimistic the funds required for its completion, which is under K3 billion, would be made available.
An official of the contractor, Sir Nicolas Gianlucca Bizzaro, concurred with the VP that funding was what delayed the completion for the TTC project and that once funds were made available, the project would be completed by the end of the year.
After visiting the construction projects, Chilima held a meeting on reforms progress with Rumphi District Council at the council’s headquarters.
Roads Authority Board Chairperson, Paramount Chief M’mbelwa of Mzimba and acting District Commissioner for Rumphi, Macphine Mzumara joined the VP on the tour of projects.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :