Local council officials in Atiak Sub-County in Amuru district are drumming up support for a public demonstration against the poor state of the Gulu-Bibia Road.
John Bosco Ochan, the Atiak LC3 chairperson, says the road, which is a major link to important resources in Gulu town, is almost impassible. A large section of the road has been swept away by rain and what is left if littered with large potholes.
Ochan says that on several occasions patients being transported from Atiak Hospital to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital and Lacor Hospital have died on the way because of delays on the dilapidated road. He gives the example of a woman who died of malaria en route to Gulu. The woman was a single mother, taking care of nine children who were orphaned by the guerilla war.
Phillips Akileo, a trader who operates between Gulu and Bibia, says the business community has been worst affected by the bad state of the road. Perishable goods like cassava, cabbages and fruits ripen and rot in vehicles stuck in the mud on the road and huge losses are incurred.
The Gulu-Bibia Road has also been the scene of numerous accidents. Early this week, a Fuso lorry taking 400 crates of beer heading to South Sudan over turned at Palokore, 30 kilometers away from Bibia.
Late last year, while on a visit to Gulu, President Yoweri Museveni promised that the road would be tarmarked.
The Gulu Resident District Commissioner, Walter Ochora, says one billion shillings has been earmarked for this purpose, but does not know when the work will begin.
The Amuru District Secretary for Health, Gilbert Olanya, is the leader of the planned public demonstration. He says that if government is still unsure about when it will rebuilt the entire road, it should at least fill in the potholes to provide a temporary solution for motorists.
The demonstration is expected to take place this Saturday at Atiak Trading Centre.
George William Odong, the area Councilor for Disabilities, says he is on a three-day hunger strike to protest the state of the road. He has pitched camp at Atiak Trading Centre and will stay there until Saturday.
Odong says that after his strike he will hand in a petition to the Amuru Resident District Commissioner, demanding action.