Locals build bridges after govt fails to fix broken ones

One of the makeshift bridges constructed by locals in Busamaga ward, Northern City Division in Mbale City. PHOTO/PHOEBE MASONGOLE 

What you need to know:

  • The residents call upon government to build bridges, adding that the makeshift bridges are a risk to their lives.

Locals in Mbale City have resorted to building temporary bridges to ease movement following delay by government to fix bridges that were washed away by torrential rains, four months ago.
The affected bridges include Busamaga-Mbale-Bufumbo, Namabale, Nashikasho, Namawane, Nagairrira, Bukhatoko, Ndohwe, Nambitsi, Namakole, and Nabuyonga.
They were destroyed after rivers Namatala, Nabuyonga, Nashibiso, and Napwoli burst their banks after a downpour in August, leaving 29 people dead and about 1,500 displaced.

Mr Joel Wakhata, a resident of Kilulu B Busamaga ward, said they decided to build a makeshift bridge after waiting in vain for government to come to their rescue.
“We have improvised a temporary bridge made of poles and timber to enable us to cross to either side because we are tired of waiting for the government,” he said
Ms Betty Khanakwa, a business woman, said: “We are paying more costs to transport our goods to town than we used to when the bridge was functional”.

Mr Job Weresha, a student of Manafwa High School and a resident of Nabweya, Bukonde Sub-county, said one of his colleagues drowned last month while using the temporary bridge.
“Whenever it rains, the water levels increase and we are forced to rotate via Bufumbo cell. This government is not serious at all,” he said.
Mr Joel Mataya, the councillor of Busamaga Ward, said makeshift bridges have put the lives of people at risk.
“We have registered numerous accidents, especially among the school-going children. We have reported but no action is being taken,” he said.
Ms Emily Namalwa Madoi, the deputy mayor of Industrial City Division, said several bridges are in a sorry state due to lack of funds.

Mr Seth Wambede, the Northern City Division MP, said it is unfortunate that the government has delayed to act yet people’s livelihoods are being tremendously affected. “Northern City Division is one of those with the highest number of broken bridges and this is affecting businesses since movement of goods and services is being curtailed,” he said.
Mr Cassim Namugali, the Mbale City mayor, said they are mobilising funds to rebuild the bridges.
Mr Allan Kyobe, the spokesperson Unra, when contacted said they are mobilising for materials to fix the affected bridges.  
“Our team is mobilising for materials to restore broken bridges within the Unra docket and this will take about three weeks from now,” he said.

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