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Photo Courtesy: Cidadãos de Moçambique / cidadaos.org.mz
More than 3,000 people living in Inhangome on the outskirts of Quelimane are suddenly finding it more difficult getting into the city, after the 150-metre-long wooden footbridge they routinely used collapsed on Thursday (April 19) night.
The bridge over the Inhangome River was built in 2013 at a cost of just over seven million meticais [around US$115,780 at current exchange rates]provided by the Quelimane district government but, after four years, the infrastructure has succumbed to the brackish waters, O País reports.
Resident Abacar Carimo explained that residents who want to go to Quelimane to get water or to go to hospital can no longer do so. The same applies to teachers who need to cross to Inhangome to give classes.
Currently, despite the risks involved, people and goods cross the river in canoes, which re precarious as well as uncomfortable. Rosa Carlos is elderly and grows crops in inhagome and, in the aftermath of the collapse, says she and many others have no way of earning their livelihood and are asking authorities to intervene.
One child died on Saturday because he was unable to cross the river to get to hospital. As a result, the child died at home and was buried on Sunday morning.
Mayor accuses government of diverting funds
Following the collapse of the bridge, the mayor of Quelimane, Manuel de Araújo, visited the site to see for himself. He accused the government of having “deviated” the seven million meticais in 2013 to build the now-collapsed bridge, saying it did not even consult the municipal council at the time, building the bridge without authorisation and without the municipal supervision required by law.
“This is the result of mixing party politics with public administration. This bridge was built to pay for Frelimo’s election campaign and an amount that does not match what should be invested here was spent.”
“This bridge did not last for four years and the population is paying for this Frelimo political party patronage,” he said, adding “that is why we want the separation of the state and political parties, because when the parties begin to immerse themselves in public administration, this is the result”.
District government denies Mayor’s accusations
Quelimane administrator Carlos Carneiro denies the accusations, saying that what the people needed was a bridge, not accusations and going back in time to look for justifications, so “we as a district government will talk to the council to find a solution to alleviate the suffering of the people”.
As for the bridge being built without consulting the Municipal Council, Carneiro said that the city council was properly informed at the time but had no money, so the government had moved forward with the infrastructure as a matter of urgency.