NOVEMBER 26, 2014 By Sayoh Kamara
The outskirts of Kabala, headquarter town of Koinadugu district, is facing an amazing facelift as roads and streets that have not felt the weight of vehicle and motorbike tyres for over three decades are being reconstructed and those cut off for years due to neglect are being brought back to usefulness.
This is one major selfless contribution coming from one of the district’s eminent sons, Dr. Kaifala Marah, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
Dr. Marah disclosed to this reporter that he had since bought the caterpillar and bulldozer machines in early 2012 but because it was an election year, had kept them for later usage. He said funds for the purchase of the machines came from his Commonwealth severance package. According to him, he cannot share every bit of cent to people in the district to make any impact on their lives, but with the works the machines would be doing, “I am sure every inch of what they would be doing will have direct positive impact on the lives of several people at some particular given time,” Dr. Marah stated, adding that he is particularly interested in opening up the district’s poor communities and touristic potentials to attract investor interests.
Indeed, the envisioned wider positive impact the works of the caterpillar and the bulldozer are having on the people is exponential. Despite the threat posed by the Ebola outbreak in one of their chiefdoms, the Kabala people are saying “we are being liberated from isolation and we have been given a new life”. A total of 15 roads and streets in Kabala have been rehabilitated so far covering over 15km.
Residents of Upper and Lower Imam Streets in Kabala town for example say the last time they saw a caterpillar machine working on their street was 30 years ago in the days of the Public Works Department (PWD). They say they had been completely cut off from grand Kabala as motorbikes which are the main source of town service transport do not ply their areas.
Dr. Kaifala Marah had in early 2012 procured a caterpillar and a bulldozer to maintenance and construct roads in Koinadugu, a district that is seriously challenged by poor roads or the lack of it. Access to many chiefdom headquarter towns and to most agricultural areas of the district has been a challenge the district is contending with since colonial days. Dr. Marah’s intervention particularly in the township of Kabala has been described by the youth as “unprecedented” and “an epoch-making stride”.
It could be recalled that last year, he organized a huge gathering of people from Koinadugu, old and young at home and from the Disapora including friends of Koinadugu district at an Easter Outing Splash on one of Koinadugu’s unexplored and pristine fresh water way beaches that lie along the 60km stretch road he has constructed. The road passes through over a dozen villages and serves as links for close to a hundred more that are dispersed in closer chiefdoms.
The people in the villages say the road has brought respite to them in that it has cut down on the high transportation costs on motorbikes and the occasional vehicles that ply the route. In Bambukoro for example, a young farmer told this reporter that it used to cost him and a bag of groundnuts Le 25, 000 to Kabala which is some 15miles.
Fakulie Marah who owns a shop in the same village said before the road was done, it will cost him two days for a return trip and in monetary terms will costs him about Le 75, 000 to transport him and his wares.
“This road had brought life to us. We can now go to Kabala and back for Le 5, 000,” Fakulie said, adding that there is hardly shortage of certain basic food condiments like salt, sugar, tomato paste and Maggie, which were rarities before the road was done.
Meanwhile, government sponsored 5km roads construction project within the township is ongoing.