Demonstrators Block Kigumba-Masindi Road Over Poor State

4258 Views Masindi, Uganda

In short
Traffic on Kigumba-Masindi road was on Friday brought to a near standstill after demonstrators dug a trench in the road. The residents of Kisanja trading centre in Masindi Municipality were demonstrating over the poor state of the road.

Traffic on Kigumba-Masindi road was on Friday brought to a near standstill after demonstrators dug a trench in the road.
 
The residents of Kisanja trading centre in Masindi Municipality were demonstrating over the poor state of the road.
 
The demonstrators said their protest was to remind the government of its long unfulfilled promise to tarmac the Kigumba-Masindi-Hoima - Kyenjojo road.
 
The demonstrators then planted banana suckers and yams in the trench.
 
Trucks and other large vehicles were forced to use alternative routes of Kafu and Masindi Port road to access Kigumba or Kiryandongo during the demonstration.
 
John Mugisa, one of the demonstrators, said they are tired of being deceived by government year after year that the road will be worked on. Mugisa says for 10 years for the government to construct the road.
 
Another demonstrator Grace Kusiima wonders how the government can fail to improve an important trade route road. Kusiima says the road povides a direct link to Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan with the potential to boast trade in the region.
 
Isaac Kanyamu, the Masindi District Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party chairman was one of the leaders that visited the demonstration site. Kanyamu backed the demonstration, saying the road works have been long overdue.
 
Meanwhile, three suspects have been arrested by Police in connection with the demonstration. The suspects are two women and a man.
 
Kamisafu Mugenyi, the Masindi Criminal Investigations Officer, declined to identify the suspects but maintained that they are in detention at Masindi police station to help in investigations.
 
A month ago Ali Babi, a businessman in Hoima district warned of a protest march to Kampala in case he proved that money to repair the road had been diverted.
 
In early 2000 Babi led a protest march to Kampala over the failed tarmacking of the Hoima-Busunju-Kampala road.
 
But Bunyoro Affairs Minister Ernest Kiiza has since maintained that the road works have only been delayed by a contract dispute.
 
Kiiza says the procurement process of the road contractor had been protested by other bidders and that the matter was subject to administrative review.
 
Kiiza refutes the accusation that the money has been diverted and insists it is safe in the bank awaiting dispersal if the review approves the construction to begin.
 
Government has almost every financial year budgeted for the 238kilometer road stretch, but the plans have only remained on paper.
 
Work on the road was supposed to start in July after government secured 150million dollars in loan from the African Development Bank.
 
The money was to facilitate work on the 135kilometer road stretch from Kigumba-Masindi-Kabwoya.
 
The remaining part of the road which is about 100kilometers from Kabwoya-Kagadi-Kyenjojo will be tarmacked under a different arrangement, with funds provided by World Bank.