Key West Nile road remains in bad state 

Residents help a boda boda cyclist out of a flooded stretch of Koboko-Moyo road last week. PHOTO / ROBERT ELEMA

What you need to know:

  • In September last year, the World Bank provided $130m (Shs459m) to upgrade the 105km murram road to bitumen standards in order to improve access to social services and create jobs for the refugee-hosting districts.

The Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo road, which is expected to facilitate trade between Uganda and South Sudan, remains in a sorry state despite efforts to have it tarmacked.

In September last year, the World Bank provided $130m (Shs459m) to upgrade the 105km murram road to bitumen standards in order to improve access to social services and create jobs for the refugee-hosting districts.

According to Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra), the bidding process to procure a contractor for the works is ongoing.

The roads authority blamed the project delays on the verification process of the affected persons who are being  compensated. 

Mr Allan Ssempebwa, the Unra spokesperson, told Daily Monitor  this week that the government and World Bank are determined to construct the road.

“The people of West Nile should not worry because the road has already been earmarked for construction. All affected institutions and individuals  will be compensated. Our team are on ground for assessment. Once procurement and compensation is fully done, we will start the construction and completion of tarmacking,” he said.

Besides the road being dusty and bumpy,  some of its bridges are at the verge of collapse.

Mr Adinan Dina, a driver, who plies the Yumbe-Koboko road, said they face many hardships while travelling on it.
“The road is in a bad state and needs urgent attention. When it rains, water cuts off the road and small vehicles are submerged. Drivers also have to compete with pedestrians to utilise the narrow road,”  Mr Dina said.

“Drivers sometimes manoeuvre through people’s homes to dodge the floods. Vehicles get damaged in the process and [we] have to incur huge expenses to have them repaired,” he added.

Another driver, Mr George Candia, said: “We have to go slow because of the potholes. By the time you reach the destination, you feel a lot of backpain. I have to take painkillers because the daily journey is a health threat. Government should speed up process of tarmacking this road.”

Some of the project affected persons (PAPs) have been compensated but others have not yet received their payment. Mr Yassin Ari, the proprietor of Praford Hotel, said part of is perimeter wall and gate have been affected.

He said 10m of his 50m x 48m land, has been chopped off to pave way for the road project. 

Complaints
“The structures that have been affected including the land have been valued Shs277million. Since September last year when the assessment was done, my documents have not been picked for final arrangements for payment,” Mr Ari said.

He added: “I have not got any information about the delay in paying the money. My neighbours have all been compensated. I feel scared because if the project starts without compensating me, then it will be a big problem.”

Mr Haruna Safiki, another landlord from Odriga Village, said the compensation process is affected by irregularities.

“We have two different plots of land but due to unclear specifications, we felt that we have been cheated. On the document we have, a size of 0.0075 piece of land valued at about Shs9.1 million but the money paid was about Shs6 million and the whereabouts of Shs3m is not known,” he said.

However, Mr Badru Aziga, a landlord in Central village in Apo Sub-county, said he has been fully compensated.

“I have a small plot of land with some building which Unra assessed and valued at Shs17m, which has all been paid. I am satisfied with what Unra has done and I will put a new structure in the remaining part,”  Mr Aziga said.

Mr Bernard Ayimani, the Yumbe District engineer, said many PAPs have been compensated but the delays are  a result of land conflicts in Moyo.

“There are landlords from Moyo side claiming ownership of land on Yumbe side that has affected about five villages and they want the money to be paid to them, which is retarding the compensation process thus affecting the start of the road works,” he said. 

Mr Mario Obiga Kania, the MP for Terego East, said the road will facilitate trade between Uganda and South Sudan via Moyo and Adjumani. 

“I understand the pain and delay while driving on that road. We hope once worked upon, it will cut cost of transportation of agriculture and manufacturing products. 

Usually, road constructions delay because of the numerous processes involved such as survey, consultancy, re-aligning, designing, pre-qualification and actual start of the work. People should be patient,” Mr Kania said. 

Background

In September last year, World Bank Board of Directors approved a grant of $130m from the International Development Association (IDA) to ease the movement of goods and people and improve access to social services and job opportunities in the refugee hosting districts in the West Nile Sub-region.

It is financed through the IDA18 Window for Host Communities and Refugees. The Uganda Roads and Bridges in the Refugee Hosting Districts Project will upgrade 105 kilometre Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo road from gravel to bitumen and strengthen the institutional capacity of the Uganda National Roads Authority to manage environmental, social, and road safety risks.

Reported by Felix Warom, Robert Elema & Scovin Iceta

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