Malawi Police in Karonga have nabbed five people for issuing threats to Chinese contractors working on the Karonga-Songwe road after the Malawians were sacked from their jobs for stealing diesel and cement from the contractors.
Police say the five have since been charged with theft.
Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango who went to see the progress of the road on Thursday said he was disappointed that some people were stealing road construction materials and that some Malawians were issuing threats to the contractors.
“This is unacceptable. It is sad that those involved in the stealing of the materials are from here in Karonga who are going to benefit a lot from this road. The police are under instructions to arrest anyone involved in the malpractice,” he said.
He said it was pleasing that 33 per cent of the 54 per cent projected road construction has already been done.
Mhango said it was pleasing that the government has saved at least K1 million because of the use of quarry as opposed to cement in some parts of the road.
He described the Karonga-Songwe road as a hub of economic development in Malawi as it bridges the land locked Malawi and Dar-es-Salaam Port where most of the country’s imported cars and goods come from.
“Once this road is completed, the social economic status of the people in Malawi more especially Karonga district who depend upon rice farming will change for the better.
“Malawi being a land locked country we depend upon the Tanzanian port to import cars, fuel and many more items, therefore this road will enhance efficiency of business environment in the country,” Mhango said.
Roads Authority (RA) Director of Construction Engineer Sam Kadangwe hailed Zhejiang Communications Construction Company Limited (ZCCC), a Chinese company that is tasked with the maintenance and rehabilitation of the 46 kilometers Karonga-Songwe border road for a speedy job that the company is doing to finish the road in time despite numerous challenges faced such as persistent rainfall in the previous rain season and theft of construction materials among others.
The Karonga-Songwe (M1) road forms part of the North-South Corridor that connects Malawi to the port of Dar-es-Salaam. The government of Malawi with a loan from the World Bank is upgrading and rehabilitating the road and progress works is at 37% against a time lapse of 54%. The road is expected to be thoroughly through in June 2019.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :