Kondeni, Msae villagers dread wrath of road trenches

KONDENI and Msae villagers in Moshi District are bracing for the worst of forthcoming long rains in March as stormwater outlets from their upgraded road pour flood waters onto their farms.

The villagers fear there will be extensive damage to their farms and property as the 11.5 kilometres Kilacha-KondeniMsae road that passes through the villages, was upgraded from earth to gravel standard but no side drains were constructed.

A spot survey of the Daily News on the road showed storm water side drains were not constructed when the road was upgraded earlier this year in a project financed by the Road Fund and implemented by the Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA).

The survey showed runoff water from El-Niño rains in January led to serious and rapid erosion of the road surface area and had dug trenches on both sides of the road. There is extensive damage to banana and coffee farms from uncontrolled rainwater discharged to the farms through outlets dug from the road.

It is feared that the forthcoming long rains in March will lead to severe erosion of the road surface, deepening of the trenches on the roadside and extensive damage to farms and property.

In the most likely worst scenario, some deep trenches will cut through the road by floodwaters to render it impassable which will cost millions of taxpayer money for rehabilitation. It remains unknown to the villagers and their leaders whether the work is complete or not because they claim to have not been informed or involved in the project on their road.

As a result of their nonparticipation in the crucial project for their village, there is no sense of ownership of the project which has cost millions of taxpayers money.

The villagers feel left out and disrespected by government authorities for initiating a project in the village without involving them. “Uncontrolled rainwater is a big problem in our village,” the Chairman of Msae Nganyeni Village, John Makyao told the Daily News in Msae Village.

The village chairman said road upgrading work was poorly done as no side drains were constructed to manage the flood water. He said however that they do not know much about the upgrading project of their road because they were not involved.

“We see the work is poor but we can do nothing because we have not been involved,” said Mr Makyao. “Nobody from TARURA, nobody, came here to tell us about the project. We just woke up one day and we saw trucks unloading murram and next a motor grade grading the road.” The Chairman of Kondeni Village, Tito Ngomuo also said the villagers and themselves as leaders and their representatives have not participated in the project because they were not involved.

“There is no participation. When they came, they did not bother to look for us. They did not involve us.” “I saw heaps of murram on the road and later on a motor grader leveling the materials. I asked for the details of the work but in vain.

An environmentalist at the village, Mzee Bariki Kaale, said the law provides for the participation of the people in the government-funded project and therefore it was wrong to ignore the villagers and their leaders in carrying out the project.

“Do our leaders know about the Bill of Quantity of the project? If they don’t know the government should tell us how the road is being upgraded,” said Mzee Kaale, a retired civil servant. It is really sad if we do not know the details of the project on our road. At least our leaders should have been involved,” he said.

The BOQ is not known. The wananchi do not know how their road is being upgraded and the law directs for people’s participation in their projects.

TARURA Regional Manager for Kilimanjaro, Africano Orota admitted lack of properly constructed drainage ditches is a serious problem but despite that there were no components for such work. He told the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) that upgrading of the Kilacha-Kondeni and Msae road had been conducted in two projects.

The first project began in 2021/2022 with a 158,660,000/- budget and it involved grading and widening the road and pouring of murram for 4.5 kilometers.

The second project was done in the current financial year with 177,740,000/- involving to grading, widening, and pouring murram in the remaining seven kilometres.

“The biggest challenge is drainage ditches. Our plans for the coming years are to make stone ditches on the side of the road so that we can channel the rainwater. Our current project and the previous one had no component for the construction of drainage ditches,” he said.

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