New Road Set to Breath Life Into Pangani

IN the middle of efforts to ensure that Pangani reassures its place as a critical interface of trade and commutations between the African continent and other peoples of the Indian Ocean, there is construction of a road that connects it with Tanga and Bagamoyo.

The efforts are being spearheaded by Uzima kwa Sanaa (Theater for Development). For Pangani residents, the construction of the highway looks like a dream that would never come true.

However, recent developments indicate that the dream to connect the East African coastline from Malindi to Bagamayo through Tanga, Pangani and Saadani could be a reality soon.

According to reports presented to a recent meeting of the Tanga Regional Road Board show that the Tanzania government is currently looking for donors to fund the proposed 176 kilometre Tanga – Pangani – Saadani Bagamoyo road that could open up Pangani District development potential.

The report presented by the Tanzania Road Agency ITANROADS), Tanga Manager, Alfred Ndumbaro further showed that the African Development Bank (AfDB) has already shown interest in funding sections of the road that is expected to open the tourism potential of Pangani District.

According to Ndumbaro, the Consultant of the project M/s Aurecon of South Africa is currently finalizing his final detailed engineering design report and was expected to be presented it this month “After presentation of the report the process of looking for the contractor to construct the road would be in progress. Actual construction of the road would start immediately after obtaining funds for the project,” said Ndumbaro.

In another development, after appeals from conservation activists, the road being implemented as an East African Community (EAC) project, would now bypass the Saadani National Park by meandering through Mkwaja -Mkalamo – Kwamsisi – Makange – Matipwili – Gama and connecting through Makurenge (on the Msata – Bagamoyo) Road to avoid environmental destruction in the Saadani National Park.

The road was earlier designed to pass through the Park, a factor that raised hell among environmental activists. The EAC signed a contract with Aurecon Limited to conduct feasibility studies and detailed design of the East African Community project for the Malindi – Mmbasa – Lunga Lunga/ Horohoro Border on the Kenyan side and Tanga – Pangani – Saadani -Bagamoyo in the Tanzanian side.

Construction of the road considered to be vital for the development of Northern Tanzania coastal districts, including Panganii, would include construction of bridges spanning River Pangani a factor that would do away with the ferry and another bridge would be built across River Wami.

According to Ndumbaro the construction of the road would also involve construction of spar roads to Pangani beach tourist hotels they include Mwarongo Link road, Ushongo Beach Link and Kipumbwi Port Road. “It would also include a bypass from Utofu Bridge in the Tanga City through Majani Mapana to Duga Mwembeni to link with the Tang Pangani Road.

The draft report was presented for review in August 2013 and continued with the detailed engineering design which was presented and reviewed in July, 2014.

The road is part of the effort in the East African Integration, which is taking various faces since it was reinitiated in recent years.

The Director of the Uzima Kwa Sanaa, (UZIKWASA), a Panganibased NGO that dedicates itself to the preservation of the Pangani Historical and Cultural heritage Dr. Vera Pieroth, in a foreword to Pangani Heritage report prepared by Karen Moon, a Heritage Consultant and Pierre Blanchard, a Conservation Architect commissioned by the organization with the financial assistance of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) said the road could be a catalyst to reactivation of the role played by Pangani in the early centuries.

“With a dynamic history and a fascinating range of surviving historic buildings, the heritage of the assets of Pangani, represents a valuable natural resource with potential to serve as a catalyst for regeneration in an area where a sizeable proportion of the local population is poor and struggles to meet basic needs.

The organisation recently inaugurated the restored Rehema Abdul House, a structure that traces its origin to the 19th Century in 1870 when a trader from Gujarat in India, Mohamed Alarkia came to Pangani to exploit trading opportunities brought about by the slave and ivory trade.

The Director of Archives and Technology, John Kimaro said the Government would continue to support efforts to preserve historical and cultural heritage, pointing out that in some countries such as Egypt, 50 per cent of the national income came from historical and cultural tourism.

“Pangani is a historic town. Without preservation efforts the rich history would be wiped out and when it is lost, it is impossible to revive,’ Kimaro said.

The road, however, could serve as the ultimate gateway to open up opportunities for the common Pangani resident and joining up the famous Northern Tourist Cycle which gives the chance to add Tanga and Pangani specifically with its beautiful beaches to its package