Transporters and passengers plying on the Lichinga-Kuamba route are irritated by the serious degradation of the road. Depending on the condition of the road, it takes up to seven hours to drive from Lichinga to Kuamba – a trip that used to take just three hours.
Sabite Cazembe, a passenger carrier, complains that the poor condition of the road causes damage to the vehicles plying on it. “We have a lot of losses. For example, springs, shock absorbers and suspension are damaged because the road is full of potholes.”
At 300 kilometers, EN13, a national road connecting the towns of Lichinga and Kuamba, is considered essential for the development of the northern province of Niassa. Residents have been asking for road paving for several years.
In November, the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, guaranteed that work would begin in Lichinga by the end of that month, but the promise never materialized.
Later, the Governor of Niassa, Arlindo Chilundo, assured the media in the 2016 annual balance sheet that works would start in the first three months of this year.
Investment overview in Catembe
“The whole road is full of weeds [lama] and potholes,” laments resident Bento Santana. The driver draws attention to the Government’s investment in the construction of the Catembe Bridge, which will connect the two sides of Maputo Bay – a project expected to cost around US$700 million.
“We, as the people of Niassa, have felt a lot. This cost of the Catembe bridge was already enough to reduce our poverty in the north,” he says.
Aware of the critical condition of the road, the Niassa state government, through the National Roads Authority (ANE), has placed stones on the most critical potholes to ease the passage of vehicles.
According to spokesman Geraldo Macalane, the provincial government has tried to ensure “there is a budget for periodic maintenance in the most critical areas on the roads”.
However, the measures taken by the authorities continue to cause criticism among road users. As Gildo João, a passenger who appealed to the government: “The road is bad, there are potholes and jumps. We would like the road to be improved so that cars can move freely.”