Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Government allocates K3bn to rehabilitate airstrips countrywide for elections material transportation

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Busanga Airstrip, Kafue
Busanga Airstrip, Kafue

GOVERNMENT has this year allocated K3 billion for the rehabilitation of airstrips countrywide in light of the general elections to ensure that elections materials are delivered to remote parts on time.

Ministry of Communications and Transport permanent secretary Dominic Sichinga in an interview said seven airstrips have been identified in each province for rehabilitation and maintenance works.

Mr Sichinga cited Lukulu, Kaoma, Sesheke, Mongu, Chipata, Nyimba, Isoka and Serenje as some of the airstrips where maintenance works have been done.

He said the ministry has identified airstrips where vegetation control is being done, adding that so far K1 billion has been released and another sum of less than a billion is expected to be released soon.

He said more money was expected to be released before the end of the year.

“Airstrips are labour-intensive projects and difficult to maintain.

All Government airstrips fall under the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the mandate is to ensure that they are functional,” he said.

Mr Sichinga said the ministry has also engaged private air operators to update Government on the status ofvarious airstrips.

He said the Ministry is also working with provincial administrations to help maintain the airstrips, adding that civil servants that fall directly under the DCA in provinces have engaged private workers to maintain airstrips to functional levels.

He said Government is open to proposals to have airstrips managed by the private sector operators but noted that it is an expensive venture that needs to be viable if it is to attract investors.

He cited Solwezi airstrip as one of those that are being developed by the mines as a joint venture under the public private partnership model.

The airstrip is having a new terminal built and the run way extended to cater for big planes and be turned into an airport.

“Managing of these airstrips by private operators will depend on how viable they are commercially.

“We have a number of airstrips that are managed by private operators, purely for commercial purpose, where tourists are taken to game areas,” he said.

[Zambia Daily Mail]

15 COMMENTS

  1. Why should it only be for election materials and not for passenger Flights? Are election materials more important than human beings? This kind of infrastructure and rehabilitation programs needs serious scrutiny. Priorities please BOMA yathu!!!!!

  2. mulampapusha mwe..even opposition will use the air strips to send their material..bushe y are we always condeming..gosh

  3. Right on #4, just you wait! You will see how important regular maintenance of these airstrips is not only for elections. There is emergency landing, evacuations, humanitarian aid, disaster management, flying doctor services, ZAWA, so on and so forth! Chili shani kanshi? Fyonse fyali fye bwino elyo musungu ali kateka!

  4. IT is ALL PART KANITUNDILAS PLAN!! THIS IS TO QUALIFY THE EXCUSE, THAT THERE WOULDN’T BE ENOUGH SPACE ON THE AIRCRAFT FOR ALL PARTY OBSERVERS!!
    IT IS NOT THE RAINY SEASON, SO ROAD TRANSPORT, ESCORTED BY ALL PARTY OBSERVERS IS THE MOST APPROPRIATE THING TO AVOID ALL SUSPICION & THUS ALLOWING FOR FREE & FAIR ELECTIONS!!!

    IT IS ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL SOME MORE MONEY BEFORE THE ELECTIONS!! NEXT IT WILL BE A FEW MORE BILLIONS FOR JET FUEL (AV-GAS) PLUS HIRING PLANES (Becoz am sure an excuse will be found as to why not ZAF can’t do the flights – such as planes not airworthy)!!

    SAYING THAT, if the GOVT had been that interested in serving the country, they wouldn’t have waited for now, THEY WOULD HAVE SUPPORTED FLYING DOCTOR SERVICES WITH AIRSTRIP MAINTENANCE ALL THESE YEARS!!

  5. THEOPHILUS, stop being silly, if there were, all those important things that you have mentioned, there would be NO REASON NOW OF ALL TIMES WHY THIS HAS SUDDENLY JUMPED TO THE FOREFRONT OF THE GOVTS PRIORITIES, as it would have been a service that would have been ongoing all along – this is what we in bemba call – “BA LI MISUBA PA MENSO!!”, i.e. your face has been smeared, with anything you can think of, such that you can’t open your eyes to the reality of the situation!!!

  6. LT the plane in YOUR PICTURE IS SOUTH AFRICAN REGISTERED FOR YOUR INFORMATION!! “ZS” “Zulu Sierra” is the RSA call-sign, ARE YOU TELLING US THEY WILL BE HIRING SOUTH AFRICAN PLANES FOR THIS EXERCISE????

  7. #10 Kamwendo thanks for the insight, SA ballot papers and SA planes WOW MMD has gone full out!! no stone left unturned, why not even get SA vote counters as well

  8. What happens to these airstrips when the elections are over. Maybe should have elections every 6 months (or even every 2 months) so that Zambia enjoy development. I commend the MMD govt for all the development they are doing during this election period. Vote for MMD for the rest of you lives. We love MMD to death.

  9. #11 Ba Zed a South Africans to be Presidential candidates, South African adopted parliamentary candidates (for all political parties) and South African candidates for the local elections. Why not have South Africans to come and vote as well, then we Zambians can just sit and watch. I am sure we will have fun.

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