Butaleja locals tired of 27-year unfulfilled pledges 

A truck stuck on the Mbale-Butaleja- Namutumba road  last year. Government has been promising to tarmac the road for the last 27 years. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • They say Mr Museveni started pledging to tarmac the 80km roads 27 years ago to ease transportation of agricultural goods, but nothing has been done to date.
  • According to residents, such unfulfilled pledges have escalated poverty and poor service delivery.
  • According to residents, such unfulfilled pledges have escalated poverty and poor service delivery.

Residents and local leaders in Butaleja District have expressed disappointment over the unfulfilled pledge by President Museveni to tarmac Lwangoli-Butaleja-Namutumba road.

They say Mr Museveni started pledging to tarmac the 80km roads 27 years ago to ease transportation of agricultural goods, but nothing has been done to date.
Residents made the remarks after Mr Museveni repeated the pledge in his communication delivered by Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance.
This was during the burial of Eseza Dombo Lumala, the mother of Mr Emmanuel Dombo, the director of communication and publicity in the NRM party at Kachonga Village in Naweyo Sub County, Butaleja District on Tuesday.
The road in question, which connects Mbale, Budaka, Tororo, and Namutumba districts, is filled with potholes.

According to residents, such unfulfilled pledges have escalated poverty and poor service delivery.
“In 1996 during the presidential campaigns, then Vice President, Dr Specioza Kazibwe, launched the tarmacking of the road of Lwangoli-Butaleja-Busolwe-Namutumba, Tororo- Nagongera-Busolwe at Busolwe roundabout. Some bulldozers were brought around. Immediately after elections, the bulldozers were taken away and since then, nothing has been done,”  Mr Higenyi Kemba, a local leader, said.
Mr Museveni, however, said the government is committed to tarmacking the road this term. 
“The design of these roads is completed. UNRA (Uganda National Roads Authority) is doing the procurement process just to be patient. The projects will be worked on,” he said.

President Museveni also said the rehabilitation of Busolwe General Hospital, which is also among his old pledges, has started.
“The rehabilitation of this hospital will be funded by Uganda and the Spanish government, and the money is already there,” he said.
During his campaign trail in the district last year, residents asked him to fulfil promises of rehabilitating various infrastructure, including the dilapidated Busolwe hospital, tarmacking roads and establishing agricultural schemes.

However, Ms Scovia Hasahya, resident, said their support to NRM has not been rewarded with improved service delivery. “Our district is neglected by the government and they are just playing on our minds by promising us air every election. Our roads and hospitals are in poor condition and nothing has been done,” Ms Hasahya said.
Residents say  Busolwe hospital, once a glorified district health facility during president Apollo Milton’s regime in 1970s, has dilapidated structures, lacks reliable electricity, basic health equipment and has poor hygiene
In 2015, the government said it had secured Shs22 billion under Uganda-Spanish Debt Swamp Grant to rehabilitate the hospital, renovation was expected to kick off in the same year, but  nothing has taken place.

The chairperson of the hospital board,  Mr James Wire, said the situation at the facility is worrying despite offering services to people from eight districts in the region.
“This has put a heavy load on the limited number of staff available as well as the limited resources at their disposal,” Mr Wire said.
He added: “The hospital renovation has been promised but we expect to join forces with the Members of Parliament and district leadership to pursue its realisation. ”

Govt effort
While responding to the local leaders’ concerns, Dr Chris Baryomusi, the ICT minister, said the government will also rehabilitate the roads. “The road will be worked on because information from UNRA is that they have started the process,” he said. Mr Allan Ssempebwa, the media relations manager at UNRA, said the roads have been prioritised in the National Development Plan III. “For now, our road maintenance teams have stepped up activities to keep the roads in good condition and motorable. For instance, we completed the design of Namutumba - Butaleja - Nabumali road last month,” Mr Ssempebwa said.
 

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