October 14, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of Parliament from Kenema district representing the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have blamed acting Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure for the apparent delay in approving funds for the rehabilitation and maintenance of Blama and Hanga roads in Kenema.
According to Hon. Francis A. Kaisamba, pressure has been mounting on lawmakers representing the district because of the deplorable state of the roads in Kenema, which he said were an embarrassment to them.
He said they had summoned the Ministry of Works and Sierra Leone Roads Authority early this year, through the Parliamentary Committee on Works, and that the ministry assured them that the roads would be rehabilitated after the rainy season, adding that they appealed that some maintenance, such as the construction of drainages and culverts, be done even during the rains.
“We understood their thoughts as we are not engineers but we need some work to be done. They did not do anything since then. Myself, Minority Leader of Parliament [Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai] and other MPs from Kenema visited SLRA and they asked us to do a proposal, which we did and sent to them on 7 September 2015 requesting for funds for emergency crush rock patching work at Blama to Hanga Road, amounting to Le60,250,000, but unfortunately for us when we contacted SLRA they told us they have sent the request to RMFA [Road Maintenance Fund Administration] and the ministry,” said Hon. Kaisamba.
He said to their dismay the acting Minister of Works subsequently told them the money they had requested (Le100,000m) was huge and was a waste of resources as there are lot things to be done, adding “in fact we are not sure if the minister saw the said proposal based on the amount he called.”
Hon. Kaisamba accused the acting minister of being reluctant to give instruction for the work to commence on the ground that the amount requested was colossal. But the opposition lawmaker noted that Kenema district has been neglected by the government and vowed to continue lobbying until work starts for the construction of the roads.
Another lawmaker from the eastern district, Hon. Habib Munda, said Kenema district has the worst roads among the four geopolitical regions in the country. He re-echoed allegations of neglect and marginalisation by the ruling government.
He urged the government, through the Ministry of Works and SLRA to commence rehabilitation of the roads as soon as possible, in the interest of the people.