Kono in dire need of roads

By Mohamed Konneh

Civil Society Network (CSN), an umbrella body of over fifteen civil society organizations in Kono District, has called on government to improve the road network in the country as provided for in the second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II) commonly referred to as the “Agenda for Change”. CSN also appreciates government’s decision as provided for in the “Agenda for Change” to rehabilitate the Matotoka –Kono highway and the extra allocation to rehabilitate 20 Kilometre road.

Civil society groups are quite convinced that government indeed set its priorities right for the development of the nation as improved road network is a major factor that contributes to the reduction of poverty and the enhancement of socio-economic development of any nation. The Civil Society Network is however gravely concern about the effective efficient implementation of this laudable vision.

The present state of the Matotoka – Kono highway and the rehabilitation work on the Koidu township road has posed very serious problems to both residents and people travelling in and out of Kono District.

Starting with the construction of the 20 kilometre road project that started in April 2011, civil society is concerned about the transfer of contract from one contractor to the other as there was almost physical confrontation between Cymain (the first contractor) and Well Group that took over.

Civil Society believes that there are laid down procedures for the awarding and withdrawal of contract which does not warrant for such an ugly situation. We are of the opinion that those procedures were not respected.

Civil Society is confused as to who is not fulfilling its own side of the agreement whether the contractor or the Government of Sierra Leone as the construction work came to a standstill at some point due to funding constraints. Even though the work has resumed, civil society is still worried about the quality and timely completion of the work which is haphazard and painfully slow.

The effects are high risk of accidents and health hazards as the township is littered with dug-up and almost abandoned drainages and exposed iron rods.

With regards the Matotoka – Kono highway, in as much as we commend government’s effort and pronouncement for the commencement of the rehabilitation of the Matotoka – Kono highway in April, 2012, it is equally disturbed that the present state of the road leading to the district which significantly contributes to the economy of the nation is nothing good to write home about. From July to date, the road is almost impassable to vehicular traffic. This situation has led to scarcity of commercial vehicles and exorbitant transport cost from the few that ply the route. Other related effects are high risks of accident, increased cost of essential goods and services including the Free Health Care. In view of above, Civil Society recommends that:

  • Government make a public statement on the contractual agreement with the Contractor, Well Group on the Koidu township road rehabilitation.
  • Government closely monitor the rehabilitation work on the Koidu township road to ensure quality and timely completion of the project.
  • Well Group to concentrate on few roads at a time instead of digging up so many roads at a time.
  • Government to intensify the on-going maintenance work on the Matotoka – Kono highway to ease the present burden on residents and travelers before the commencement of the proposed rehabilitation.
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