The poor state of roads has become a thorn in the socio-economic spheres of the community in Nwoya District now yearning for rescue so they can transact their businesses without ado.
The Lungulu road that connects Amuru town council in Amuru district to Anaka town council in Nwoya district has one of the sharpest road infrastructural pinches affecting the community.
By Thursday, October 2, 2020, more than 10 vehicles had so far got stuck on the muddy road leaving many road users especially motorists stranded.
The worst spot is Dog-Aswa just few metres from Lungulu sub-county headquarters. This part of the road is utterly impassable to vehicles with pedestrians and bicycle riders being coerced to divert to gardens as a safe route for them to reach their destinations, according to the Lungulu Sub-county LC 3 chairman, Mr Denis Atube.
The politician told Kazi-njema News that a number of social services and activities including access to health facilities and business transactions have been paralysed by the sorry state of the road.
“People are hardly accessing health facilities, transporting their goods to the market and also buying. This is something which when not handled immediately may dearly cost human life,” he says.
The politician urges the district authorities to urgently respond to the matter by borrowing a leaf from the sub-county authorities who he says respond quickly in addressing community road issues.
Mr Julius Opiro, a boda-boda rider in the area, equally says the bad road infrastructure has affected their business after many of their customers abandoned using hired motorcycles following a hike in transport fares.
“…….because of the situation, we have increased the price by an extra Shs2, 000 and many of our customers have now opted to walk. This has rendered us idle and gone without money,” Mr Opiro says.
Ms Beatrice Adong, a local farmer says she is stuck with 20 sacks of maize as a result of the sorry state of the road yet she needs to sell the product so she could get tuition fees for her two children in candidate classes.
“I have no option right now yet time is running out for my children to go back to school and join their classmates. There is no way I can transport my maize to the produce store because the road is impassable,” she says.
When contacted, Mr Peter Okumu Anywar, the Nwoya District Road Engineer, said the money that the district received under the Uganda Road Fund and Rural Transport Infrastructure does not provide for emergency in repairing the road that has been spoiled by rain.
He said their hands are tight and it is hard for the relevant authorities to commit themselves to work on the road and rescue the situation.
“We are still contemplating whether we can do something including laying some gravel. But with the heavy rainfall being experienced, there are many roads already spoilt and this may just be a waste of resources since it will get spoilt within a short while”, the engineer said.
Uganda to construct DRC roads
This week, parliament approved Shs200b for Uganda’s support to jointly construct a 223-km road with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after a bilateral agreement between the two countries to implement strategic infrastructure projects.
This includes constructing the road from Kasindi to Beni measuring about 80km, Beni to Butembo measuring 54km and the Bunagana border to Ruchuru-Goma road measuring 89km.
Uganda will contribute 20 percent of the total cost of the project estimated at US$334.5M to boost trade between the two countries.
However, the move was met criticism from legislators and members of the public who questioned why Uganda would invest billions of Shillings in another country, yet its own infrastructure is waning.
Buikwe South MP, Mr David Mutebi, argued that it was unrealistic for Uganda to work on roads abroad yet the roads in the country is in a terrible state.
It is in the same line that Erute South MP, Mr Jonathan Odur, requested that the matter be deferred until government provides the copies of the agreement arguing that there is a possibility that the agreements could be flawed.
But their effort to defer the approval of the money pending tabling of the agreements was in vain because when the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, posed the question asking if the funds should be approved, the majority voted in support.
Kadaga said that the road was vital especially at a time when Ugandan products are blocked from accessing markets like Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda.
Budget Committee chairperson, Mr Amos Lugolobi, who presented the report, which in total sought a supplementary budget if 3.8 trillion Shillings, recommended that the signed agreements should be laid in Parliament before implementation of the project commences.
Works Minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, committed to providing the documents before project works commence.
Uganda plans to engage in other roads projects in countries like Ethiopia and South Sudan.