Vice-President Saulos Chilima on Wednesday publicly expressed displeasure with Blantyre City Council officials for their delays in upgrading to bitumen a road in Manja Township in Blantyre.
A visibly disappointed and fired up Veep, who visited the road project alongside other infrastructure projects in the Southern Region, told council officials that they are “sleeping on the job” and if it means him taking charge of the operation of machinery for construction works to start, he will do it.
He told the officials to come up with the design for the road and expected a progress report within three months.
Chilima lashed out at the council’s chief executive officer (CEO) Alfred Chanza, who during the inspection briefing said that much of the progress has not been made because he was away on interdiction in relation to the abuse of K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds abuse saga.
Chilima told the media after the tour that the delays by the council paint a bad picture of the Tonse Alliance administration as failing to deliver on projects.
He said: “I came here some three months ago and we agreed on what to do and what has been done is not what we agreed, therefore, I am disappointed.
“Let’s see what happens in the next three days or so and we will probably have to be taking different decisions because we can’t be coming back to Manja Township every now and then.”
In a separate interview, the council’s director of town planning Costly Chanza, who spoke on behalf of the CEO, said the council will work on the shortfalls as pointed out by the Vice-President.
He said they agreed with the Veep in their April meeting to grade the road in the short-term.
However, Chanza said they have engaged their engineers who are doing the designing.
He said: “Between that time and now we did the grading and then as a council we started designing because the road did not have any design. So, we have engaged our designers to do the designing and we are almost through.”
Chanza also said they have taken into consideration complaints by Chilima that the council poorly upgraded the road; hence, they will re-grade again as a short-term measure.
During the April visit, Costly Chanza said Manja Township road project has been funded on three separate occasions, but the money was diverted to other projects within Blantyre City South Constituency.
Recently, an initiative called Rise Up Manja was formed by residents to champion developmental activities in the township and its first task was to demand tarmac roads and street lights.
On April 16 2021, they wrote council to demand tarmac roads, street lights and regular collection of garbage.