Residents of Nakaseke District have renewed the demand for an explanation why construction of the main road in the District has not taken off despite constant pledges from the NRM government.
The demand was re-echoed by Nakaseke Central MP, Allan Mayanja Sebunya during a plenary session in parliament this week, as the house adopted a report on Physical Infrastructure and budget estimates for the Works Ministry FY 2022/23
The Committee report observed that last year, parliament recommended that Government provides UGX.56 billion for maintenance of district road equipment in new districts but these funds were never provided while the available road equipment in the mother districts are fully occupied with activities in their areas of operation and others are currently in states of disrepair.
The Committee members were concerned that some critical roads in the new districts including Nakaseke have become un-motorable due to lack of maintenance and increase in stock of roads over time due to different road programs undertaken at local government Level.
Hon. Mayanja sought clarification from the Ministry of Works in regard to the bad state of Luwero – Butalangu road -the only main road that connects Nakaseke District to Luwero and Masindi districts, which has adversely affected development in the area.
Allan Mayanja says, the 29KM road has always been used a political tool during president Museveni’s campaigns only to be abandoned after elections. In 2015, while on a campaign trail for the 2016 general elections at Kiwoko Church of Uganda, Mayanja pins president Yoweri Museveni for pledging to tarmac the road, but nothing has been done up to now.
“It was promised by the president in 2015 and in 2018, the Ministry of Works took 50 land titles from residents along that road. Up to now, the residents are claiming their titles while others have died. So Honorable minister we need a clarification about the matter, even on other roads in Nakaseke district which are in a sorry state.” Hon Mayanja said adding that the same roads helped Museveni during the bush war.
According to Hon Mayanja, the poor road network in Nakaseke district has had an serious effect to the livelihood of farmers especially pastoral communities of Ngoma, Kinoni and Kinyogoga whose milk cannot access market in Kampala but also coffee and banana producers in Kiwoko, Kikamulo, Wakyatto and Kitto, who cannot access market for their products.
The affected residents of Magoma, Kiwoko, Kabubu, Wakayamba and Katooke who surrendered their land titles expecting a road have lost all hope and now want their titles back. Residents say, every time they raise the matter to the Ministry of Works, they are told the process to start construction of the road is still incomplete.
In the budget for the current financial year, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) requested for additional funding for construction of 21 new roads across the country but government has also classified the item as unfunded priority. MPs however said the funds should be provided starting this financial year 2022/2023.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development argues that buying road equipment for new districts remains an unfunded priority because revenue performance has not improved, and that a mechanism should devised for the new districts to share with the mother districts.
However, committee members say, this argument is self defeating because the affected roads are income generating roads as they facilitate numerous economic activities in the Country. In their urn-motorable state, MPs say these roads negatively affect Government’s revenue base.
They also noted that most mother districts are reluctant to share their equipment with the new districts because in the event of a breakdown the cost of repair reverts to them. More so, the equipment in the mother districts have broken down and therefore all districts should get their own equipment.
In the report, the committee also recommended that UGX.57billion be found within the budget for FY 2022/23 to finance procurement of road equipment for 16 new districts and classified the item as “critical activity.”