They swallowed a woman and still remain wide open

Saturday May 30 2020

Catastrophic. A man looks through a drainage

Catastrophic. A man looks through a drainage channel. This is the spot where Cissy Namukasa fell before being swept away by the flooded water last month in Nakawa. PHOTO BY KELVIN ATUHAIRE.  


On May 2, the public was shocked by a CCTV footage showing Cissy Namukasa, a 56-year-old woman, slipping into a drainage channel and being swept off by flood waters during a downpour in Nakawa, Kampala.

Revisiting the scene on a non-rainy day, one cannot tell how Namukasa was swept off by flood waters because one can clearly see the drainage channel but not when the road is flooded.

Dangerous. An open manhole on Yusuf Lule Road
Dangerous. An open manhole on Yusuf Lule Road on May 22.

It is almost a month since Namukasa was washed away but her body has not yet been found. Legal Brains Trust, a democracy and human rights watchdog, has sued Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Attorney General in connection with the drowning of Namukasa, for failure to enforce a clear plan to protect city dwellers from loss of life, limb and property as a result of unsafe and hazardous roads, drainage channels, sewers and related infrastructure.

Legal Brains Trust also seeks compensation to the tune of Shs500 million for Namukasa’s family.
A walk on Jinja Road, Clement Hill Road, Yusuf Lule Road reveals gapping manholes. These are another hazards to city dwellers, besides the ever increasing potholes and dimly lit streets.

A misstep into any of these holes, if one misses breaking their leg or being cut by the dangerous objects that are flashed inside just like Namukasa was.


Time bomb.  A man passes by an open manhole on
Time bomb. A man passes by an open manhole on Jinja Road on May 22nd .

While appearing before KCCA recently, the authority’s acting executive director, Mr Andrew Kitata, said they had procured 500 manhole composite covers for the city.

The authority has since covered up a number of manholes during this lockdown. However, open drainage channels and several manholes on the road edges next to the walkways are also other death traps.

Often, the authorities have attributed open manholes to theft of the covers by unknown people to obtain the steel materials inside the concrete covers.

However, city dwellers have continuously appealed to the authorities to address issues such as rusty metal covers, which harbour disease-causing germs and strengthen security within the city to curb theft of manhole covers and weed out those that hide in them.