|President Koroma Commissions Road Projects in Kenema and Kailahun|
By State House Communication Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Saturday February 4, 2017, officially opened the 84.5 kilometre Kenema – Pendembu road and commissioned the construction of the 28 kilometre Pendembu – Kailahun town road respectively.
Speaking at both events, President Koroma described the commissioning ceremony as a manifestation of his government’s policy of ensuring that the reconstruction, rehabilitation and maintenance of the national road network is encouraged and sustained, thereby maximising the contribution of the road network to the country’s economic recovery programme. He stated that he travelled on the road during the elections in 2007 under unpleasant circumstances and therefore fully understands the terrible state the road was then.
“When I became President, I could still remember when my friends were urging me to celebrate my birthday in 2007, but my reply to them was that “I would not celebrate my birthday until I can drive my car to Kailahun Town,” he said.
The president pointed out that the commissioning and launching ceremonies were a dream come true, given the fact that discussions with the European Union to do the Kailahun – Koindu leg of the road are at an advanced stage. This, he said, will help to facilitate trade between and among neighbouring Guinea and Liberia.
President Koroma also warned the people of Kenema and Kailahun to use the road responsibly and desist from stealing or destroying its infrastructure (reflectors, for instance), adding that the road is the best in the country. He went on to note that when he went to launch the first phase of the Kenema – Pendembu road a few years back, some people had reservations, describing the project as “fiction”. “Today, the president said, the people of this district have now known that my word is my bond,” he stated, and he reiterated in local parlance “Norto bayan fakie…nar reality”.
The project is part of the Kenema – Koindu Corridor, which serves as one of the main routes linking Sierra Leone with the Republic of Guinea.
According to the Deputy Resident Engineer of ISU, Augustine Jibba, the 84.5 kilometre Kenema – Pendembu road has been one of the best road constructions in the country with width of 10.4 meters, 41 box culverts, 209 pipe culverts, 8 new bridges and shoulders.
Director General of Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), Abdul Aziz Kamara, explained that the design and specifications for the 28 km road from Pendumbu – Kailahun are 150mm thick (Sub-Base), 200mm thick (Base) and 50mm thick (Surfacing Asphaltic Concrete) respectively.
Speaking in appreciation of the development projects brought to the eastern region by President Koroma, the Minority Leader of Parliament, Dr Bernadette Lahai, said the region could have gained more had they appreciated the president before this time. “We could have gotten more than this if we had wholeheartedly embraced the president before now,” she told the eastern region parliamentarians and the people of Kenema.
After highlighting the good things that the APC government has done for the region including roads, provision of clean drinking water, electricity and the advancement of work on the Eastern University, Hon. Bernadette Lahai appealed for the construction of the Mano Junction via Tongo Field road and Kenema township roads. She named the president as Commissioner of Roads for his sterling performance in transforming the road network all across the country.
The Mayor of Kenema, Joseph Kelfala, refuted allegations that the people of Kenema are against development from President Koroma and his government. He pleaded with the president to extend more visible development in Kenema as he has done that in other parts of the country. The Mayor also said the people of Kenema are looking forward to the president to do their township roads, Kenema-Zimmi road and Kenema-Gboijibu road before his retirement. He called on the president to make Kenema a second home after his retirement.
Regarding development in the eastern region, Chairman of the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations, Charles Mambu, rated the government of President Koroma at 92.5 percent and made some recommendations to ensuring road safety. Hon. Patrick Tengbeh of Constituency 003 in the Kailahun district named the president Dr Ernest Bai “Development” Koroma and urged that the people of Sierra Leone give him more time to enable him foster more development. In the same vein, Hon. Mustapha Braimah, described President Koroma as an unequal development oriented president who deserves sincere praises and thanks from the people of the eastern region.
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