WE welcome the calls to government by Mazabuka residents to immediately repair the dilapidated Kafue-Mazabuka Road which has been in that state for some time now. This road is of great importance to economic state and well-being of Zambia, and in its current dilapidated state, it is not only a death trap to travellers but a hindrance to the nation and the region’s economic progress. The road does not only connect Southern Province to the administrative hub of the nation, Lusaka, but also links the rest of Zambia to the tourist capital, Livingstone, and provides a gateway to some of Zambia’s key and lucrative economic activities, involving sugar refinery, the dairy, fishing, cattle and maize farming located in the Province. Southern Province provides much of the maize and the beef required to feed the nation, and transporting these products to other areas where they are required need a solid and good quality bituminous road network. Other than that, the Kafue-Mazabuka Road links the rest of the country to places of great tourism and historic importance too. Livingstone, for instance, is well known for tourist attraction with the mighty Victoria Falls and the Livingstone Museum and Cultural village. Understanding our Zambian cultures would somehow be incomplete if one does not visit Livingstone. Unless you are flying there, the Kafue-Mazabuka road is the main and most reliable link to get to Livingstone. But, of course, it has to be in a good state if you have to get there in one piece. Knowing the history of Southern Province and the life of the Tonga speaking people, no doubt, also requires one to either visit Monze district or Choma district because the two towns carry the history of the great cattle rearing tribe. The Kafue-Mazabuka road provides the most reliable way to get there. The road stretch also carries so much commerce, such as the Zambia sugar products, copper and most products being transported by road into or out of Zambia. But like some Mazabuka residents observed, business has now slowed down because of the poor state of the road and business people are no longer making as much money as they would normally do when the road was in a good condition. Let’s keep in mind that the more money people are able to make, the more they are likely to contribute to the national coffers. It’s therefore obvious that the revenue base for government has been affected because businesses that rely on the Kafue-Mazabuka Road stretch are not able to make as much money to enable them pay as much tax as they used to when they were flourishing. The Kafue-Mazabuka Road that also has potential to ease the transportation of coal from Maamba Mine to consumers, such as the copper smelters on the Copperbelt Province. Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) of Kafue also depends on coal from Maamba for its production of fertilizers. Probably the most endangered by the dilapidated state of the road are the passengers and ordinary road travelers. It’s a known fact that many people have died in accidents on that road stretch because of its poor state. The travel time taken by big buses to move from Lusaka to Livingstone, and vice versa, is today much slower than when the road was in good condition because they get slowed down by the poor state of the road. It is no longer also possible for most buses to make a go-come trip from Lusaka to Livingstone and vice-versa. Apart from generally slowing down the people’s movement, it also affects the bus companies’ business activities and general contribution to the economy. The economic benefits of the road stretch to Zambia and the region as a whole cannot be over emphasized.
We wish to appeal to the Road Development Agency (RDA) to consider overhauling the Kafue-Mazabuka Road soon so it that could once more ably contribute to the economic growth of the nation.