Resident District Commissioners from four districts in eastern Uganda are embroiled in a row with a Chinese company that is taking its time to complete a 105km road in the region.
RDCs of Namayingo, Bugiri, Busia and Mayuge districts say the project has stretched beyond the agreed timeline, something that has put the authorities and residents on a collision course.
The RDCs were particularly irked by Chinese company, China Railway 18th Bureau Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation, that is building the Musita-Lumino-Busia-Majanji road.
In a meeting at the Mayuge District headquarters last week, the RDCs said the delay had slowed down businesses and negatively impacted the livelihood of residents who should use the road to ease access to markets. The Eastern routes including the aforementioned connect Uganda and Kenya, two neighbouring countries whose economic survival depend on each other.
Uganda is Kenya’s biggest export market while Kenya is the gateway to Uganda’s imports, including raw materials.
And for that, the RDCs and other leaders in the four districts want the contractors to speed up construction works as stipulated in the contract.
“Construction works have taken more than 23 months yet the contract is supposed to be concluded within 36 months. My worry is that not even half of the roadworks has been done,” Mayuge RDC, Mr Sulaiman Barasa, said.
The assistant administrator of China Railway 18th Bureau Co. Ltd, Mr Simon Kirkwoo, however, attributed the delay to emerging circumstances like theft of the company’s construction materials and tedious processes of land acquisition.
The road under construction passes through four districts of Mayuge, Bugiri, Namayingo and Busia. When completed, this road will provide an alternative route to Kenya, making it easy to access the Indian Ocean Port of Mombasa. According to the Uganda National Roads’ Authority, the road is scheduled to be completed by August 2017.
About the road
In February 2015, President Museveni flagged off the construction of the Musita – Lumino – Busia to Majanji road in a ceremony at Mwezi, Mayuge District. Before 2015, the road was unsealed gravel surface. The road is now being upgraded to class II bitumen surface.