The two main roads running across the city of Kenema, Hangha Road and Blama Road including several of the streets in the city have turned eye sores as they have been taken over by potholes causing frustration in residents.
Dama Road that runs from the Cotton Tree leading to Liberia and was recently sung about by one of the country’s local artists, Bobie has gone extremely bad.
Maxwell Khobe Street which hosts the city’s most important buildings in the city including the Resident Minister’s office, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the regional police headquarter, the main fisheries market, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO), Mines Monitoring office, NASSIT, the Education office, District Forest Division (DFO) office and many others. In spite of the presence of all of these, the street remains deplorable even as officials of these important offices ply the street on a daily basis.
Blama road is virtually not motorable. At the junction of Saffa Street and at a frontage of a car wash near the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority office, the road resembles a mining site with uncountable deep potholes.
Residents of the city are blaming the council for what they say is “gross negligence” and “disregard for the concerns of the people”. They say they have raised concerns with the city authorities at several forums but that those concerns have not been heeded to.
They people are alarmed at the “discomfort” the potholes are causing to them in the Kenema city environs.
A police officer residing at the police barracks opposite capitol anonymously remarked that water flowing from the potholes are “a health hazard” to them residing in the barracks as water from the potholes have caused ponds in the barracks are serving as breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“Sometimes when the waters flow they leave in their trail human waste and packed plastic bags containing undesirables,” the police officer said.
A motor bike rider who identified himself as Mohamed, in blaming the local authorities of Kenema “for turning blind eyes to the poor roads condition” noted that the reason for the situation cannot be too far from being political.
He said they the youths want to intervene in the current situation of the roads by backfilling the potholes with granite and stones, but that they find it difficult to get the support of the local authorities.
Pedestrians are always in conflict with motor drivers and bike riders because of the accidental splashing of muddy water on them. Sometimes, the conflict is triggered when abusive words are used as reactions to such incidents.
However, residents of Kenema city are still grappling with whether the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Sierra Leone Road Authority (SLRA) or the Kenema City Council (KCC). Whatever the case, the fact is that roads and streets in Kenema city are so bad that if they are not done now, it stands as a potential cause for a social protest by the people against their local authorities.