Kenema’s Ugly Showpiece

I am seated in Fokai’ Demby’s delightful Kamboi complex along Kenema’s co-busiest thoroughfare as I watch motorists, bike riders and pedestrians struggling to avoid the bad patch at the Capitol/ Reservation roundabout.

The visitor driving into Kenema city over the last three years is greeted with potholes and a slushy path as the main trunk road from Bo turns into Blama Road.  Except for a break in the muddy patch the rough road of potholes continues throughout Blama road almost to the city’s Clock Tower at the junction of Dama road with the commencement of Hangha road. In addition to the muddy patch earlier described, there are pot holes through the length of Hangha road as far as the IDA Bridge from where the rehabilitated Kenema to Koindu road commences.

Somewhere along the road just past my hospital building are three wet patches which have existed for almost twenty years. Some clever but thoughtless water engineer had laid the main water pipe from Kondebotihun in the middle of the road.  His thoughtlessness is compounded by what can be described as a careless connection which is constantly seeping water on to the surface of the road.  Even as a non engineer I would have thought that a permanent remedy would be to remove the entire section from the middle of the road to the side and then to replace the particular pipes with new ones that are properly joined allowing no leakage.  But my friends at SALWACO along with the SLRA staff believe in repairing the three feet length of the pipe.  And so the trouble persists like a recurring decimal.

My wonder is whether the authorities in both institutions are blind to the folly or whether they are just being oblivious.  Seven years or so ago the main Blama road with Hangha road was rehabilitated by the construction firm of METCHEM.  It could not have had a solid foundation because in those bad patches that reach the surface of the road it is obvious that the foundation was not strong enough.  It is easy to compare that with what the Korean company ISU are have done with repair to the other roads within the township.

This raises the question why such a major trunk road was not included in President Ernest Bai Koroma’ s road rehabilitation of the road systems in the Provincial and district headquarter cities and towns.  Surely somebody was negligent or careless in their responsibility.  Or were they expecting his Excellency to handpick the major roads for rehabilitation?

When I asked a prominent citizen why the City Council was not pushing such major defects forward without batting an eyelid my informant told me that the Council lacked effective leadership.  He must have detected the movement of my eyebrows and he added that Mayor Joseph Kelfala was a disappointment and was failing the people.   So over to your Worship.

In the meantime the people of Kenema City, especially along its main commercial streets of Blama and Hangha must be bracing themselves for many months of slush, splash and muddy water during another rain.

On a bright note, yea a very bright note the city had electricity supply for the two nights of my stay.  Has the Guma dam filled up or has BKPS received their new generators? Whatever the answer may be “THREE CHEERS.

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