Link 8000 road plan sabotaged

CORRUPTION, inertia and pure ignorance have marred the implementation of the Patriotic Front (PF) government Link Zambia 8000 programme and senior PF and government officials fear that the failure to fully implement the programme would make the ruling party unpopular by 2016.
A document obtained by the Daily Nation said there was a cartel of individuals in the PF government and the Road Development Agency (RDA) that were frustrating the implementation of the programme so that the PF could lose its popularity and find it difficult to campaign in the 2016 elections.
According to the document, RDA chairman Willie Nsanda was relying on personnel that were allegedly deliberately misinforming him.
They were worried that the RDA under the PF government and whose supervision was now directly under President Sata would be more corrupt compared to the RDA under the MMD, the former ruling party.
As at September 2012, the PF government had proposed fourteen road construction projects and only four out of the total number proposed had works on going (apparently carried over from the MMD) while no works had commenced on the remaining ten.
President Michael Sata launched the Link Zambia 8000 in 2012 with the view to fast tracking the opening up of rural areas and transform Zambia into land-linked country.
The project was also expected to boost the creation of employment with an estimated 24 000 jobs expected to be created apart from promoting the growth of indigenous contraction industry.
But since the Link Zambia 8000 was launched, little has been recorded as most of the projects have not commenced due to what sources within the ruling party and government believe is as a result of corruption and inertia.
The proposed road construction projects as at September 2012 included Kitwe-Chingola dual carriage way, Lusaka-Chirundu road, Mufuchani Bridge Resettlement Dwelling, Lusaka L3000 project, Pave Zambia 2000, Kabwe-Kapiri Roads and Chama-Matumbo road project among others.
The document that has listed the concerns states that: “Most of the Link Zambia 8000 projects have been delayed by more than seven months from the time President Sata launched the programme in 2012. This will have adverse effects not only on the projects but also on the PF government development programme. This delay will give the PF serious challenges explaining to the people during the campaigns in 2016.”
The document also cites lack of experience on the part of people estimating the actual lead time in the implementation of the project and that the RDA chairman Willie Nsanda was not adequately informed about what was happening at the agency.
It further reveals that there were officers within RDA and some government officials who were deliberately holding on to fully processed tender documents with the view of getting corrupted by the contractors.
The document has also revealed that the re-engineering of the Kapiri mposhi way bridge was recommended to Wakong Enterprises by the technical evaluation team but at procurement level, it was allegedly maneuvered and changed to Sinohydro.
“It is clear from the foregoing that current set up at RDA will put government under pressure to deliver in the remaining period before the 2016 elections and government will find itself in a panic mode. The programme was designed by RDA but the agency has failed to meet its targets,” the document states.
Efforts to get a comment from Transport, Works, Supply and Communication deputy Minister Mwiimba Malama and RDA senior public relations manager Loyce Saili failed as their mobile phones went unanswered.