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The EN1 highway linking the south to the north of the country is in an advanced state of disrepair. In 2015, the government promised repairs, but so far nothing has happened. Motorists warn of the risk of accidents.
Travellers on Mozambique’s National Road Number One (EN1) between the administrative post of Pambara in the province of Inhambane and Nicoadala in Zambézia need to take extra care. The country’s main highway is full of potholes and obstacles such as logs and stones. The government has long promised to mend the road, but so far nothing has happened.
Given conditions on the EN1, truck driver Acácio Campira takes the precaution of driving only in the daytime. “If you leave the road, you just have to say, ‘Thank God, I’m leaving’. If you want to avoid accidents, you’d better get in the car and sleep, and only drive during the day.”
At least 1,500 kilometres of road, from Inhambane province’s Vilankulo district to Nicoadala district in Zambézia, is peppered with potholes.
Malawian Abatsha Matabwa has been driving on Mozambique’s roads for more than two decades, and also warns of the risk of accidents. “If you drive more than 40 kilometres per hour, you’ll soon be without a vehicle to drive at all,” he says.
Inheritance of the armed conflict
The Save-Muxungue and Inchope-Gorongosa-Caia sections of the EN1 were further damaged during the years of armed conflict between the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), Mozambique’s largest opposition party, and the government. These areas were the scene of armed attacks which further cratered the roadway.
In 2015, the Sofala provincial government said it intended to carry out maintenance works despite the lack of safe conditions, but since then, despite the truce between the warring parties, nothing has been heard.
In May of that year, President Nyusi travelled from Beira to the district of Chemba by road and promised the speedy start of repair works along the length of the EN1, but that project has not advanced either.
Motorists are asking President Nyusi to act quickly. “The road is badly damaged, and we are asking the government to make it look beautiful again,” motorist Tomé António says.Deutsche Welle
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