Delay to guide on fund use, low tax base, rain leave Hoima City roads in bad shape

A woman struggles to cross a road blocked with big gravel in October 2023. The road connects Ruyanja and Kasasa Cells across River Wambabya in Hoima City West Division. In the background, a motorcyclist goes back after finding that he cannot cross over. (Image: Joseph Uzelle/Kazi-njema News)

The Ministry of Works and Transport delay to send guidelines on how to use funds for the construction and rehabilitation of gravel roads in Hoima City has subjected road users in the area to transport injustice as several are in bad shape.

Most affected are roads in Hoima City West Division where area councillors and residents are complaining that besides being potholed, the roads are muddy and slippery in this season when rains are at peak.

Mr Ismail Ssekyanzi, the Division Councillor for Kihombooza Ward, says some roads in his political area like Bujwahya and Kihombooza among others are so tumbledown that they are a disgust to the users having spent three years without being rehabilitated routinely.

He says despite money being appropriated for those roads in financial year budgets, there has never been any road unit equipment taken there for work on the infrastructure that is connecting Hoima city with Masindi district.

Mr Francis Isingoma, the Division Councillor for Kiduuma Ward, cites Itara-Kyabalyanga, Kigabu-Kiduuma and Nyarugabu-Kiriisa Roads as almost not motorable due to depressions and most importantly muddy road surfaces featuring them whereas cells connected by rivers and swamps remain cut off due to the collapse of bridges that need to be technically fixed.

He wonders that despite the city receiving Shs500m for road rehabilitation, the authorities have continued keeping the money on the account as people struggle with the bad roads in a quest for accessing a multiplicity of services.

“We tried our best to do community work on the roads but it has not helped. The situation is beyond our capacity,” he says.

The Division Councillor for Kibiingo Ward, Mr George Kirya, cites Kyakadongo-Itara and Kasasa-Ruyanja among other roads as having become a menace to the community that badly needs a good road infrastructure to access socio-economic amenities.

‘I really urge the concerned authorities to take immediate action and work on the roads or else I boycott the next council sitting,’ he threatens.

Audio: Kirya on roads (Runyoro/Rutooro)
The Hoima City West Division Councillor for Kibiingo Ward, Mr George Kirya, speaks to journalists at Kibiingo Cell in October 2023. (Image: Joseph Uzelle/Kazi-njema News)

Ms Sarah Bainomugisa, a resident of Ruyanja cell, says it is two weeks now road users are battling the worst of the poor road experience.

Audio: Bainomugisa on roads (Runyoro/Rutooro)

The West Division Town Clerk, Mr Ahmed Mugisa, admits that the roads are in a bad state that he attributes to the lack of guidelines on how to use the allocated funds as reportedly told by the City Road Engineer, Bonny Kiiza.

Contacted for a comment, Eng Kiiza confirmed to this online news portal that Hoima City Council recently received Shs500m meant to be sent to lower city local governments to address the road infrastructure challenge.

However, he said the money is yet to be used for its intended work due to the ministry’s delay to guide the relevant city authorities on how to use it.

“It is true the government released Shs500m road funds to Hoima city but we cannot use it because we are still waiting for the guidelines from the Ministry of Works and Transport,” the engineer said.

Mr Robert Kyomuhendo, the Hoima City West Division Mayor, admits that the road condition in his constituency is wanting with 90 per cent of the infrastructure in a poor state.

He attributes the condition to inadequate funding and heavy rains currently being experienced in Greater Hoima besides the low revenue collections in the Division due to the low tax base to enable the local government to allocate enough funds to the priority development need that is within its mandate and consistent with the national priorities by provision of discretionary development funding.

The mayor reveals that recently, the Division received Shs60m from the Discretionary Development Grant which will be used to rehabilitate few roads when the rainy season stops.

He says this amount of money is so little that it can be used to rehabilitate only four roads in the area.

Mr Kyomuhendo also blames this on the delayed release of the funds. He discloses that road fund for the last quarter was released when the quarter was ending, thus, impacting on road rehabilitation.

He calls for the residents and politicians’ patience.  

“The road fund is always sent to the city account and the road fund for this quarter was released but the city engineer is telling us that he hasn’t received the guidelines on how to use this money and another problem is that the engineers are telling us that they do not work on roads during rainy season,” he says.

Audio: Kyomuhendo on roads (Runyoro/Rutooro)

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