What you need to know:
- The President’s new directive to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, is a direct response to the deteriorating state of roads in the capital.
President Museveni has ordered the Special Forces Command (SFC), a specialised regiment of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), to take over Kampala City roads.
The SFC, an elite military unit tasked with carrying out specialised missions or operations, will, however, work with the authorities at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
The President’s May 22-letter came almost a month after the First Son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, also a presidential adviser on special operations, inspected city roads in company of KCCA executive director Dorothy Kisaka, and undertook to give KCCA a hand in fixing the potholes.
Inadequate funding, late releases and years of neglect, combined with the challenges of rainy season, have left most of the Kampala roads in a sorry state. To fix city roads, KCCA requires about Shs800b annually.
Majority of the tarmac roads in Kampala are old and need rehabilitation. There are 2,100km of roads in Kampala, but only 600km are tarmac, with the rest being marrum.
Protesting the poor state of city roads and government procrastination, outraged citizens held a “pothole exhibition” on Twitter, forcing the government to intervene.
The President’s new directive to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, is a direct response to the deteriorating state of roads in the capital.
Without delving into the nitty-gritties of the new directive, including resource mobilisation and how civilians intend to work with the military and ensure accountability of the public funds, the President instructed SFC to take over the management of potholes without delay.
Ms Nabbanja is expected to convene a high-level meeting at her office in Kampala this morning, to communicate the President’s directive.
Three ministers, including Ms Minsa Kabanda (Kampala), Matia Kasaija (Finance) and Gen Katumba Wamala (Works), and their permanent secretaries (PSs), the Attorney General and the commander of the SFC Construction Brigade, are expected to attend today’s meeting.
Others summoned are; executive directors of KCCA, Uganda National Roads Authority, Uganda Road Fund and representatives from the President’s office.
Mr Museveni directed Ms Nabbanja to immediately “cause relevant agencies of government to allow the KCCA to directly work with the SFC construction regiment to repair what he called the “famous potholes in Kampala City.”
“The SFC construction regiment will do the work at a cost that is much lower than what the profit-seeking contractors would have done,” Mr Museveni said in the letter to the prime minister.
Officials speak out
Ms Kisaka welcomed the development, saying “what Kampala needs is service delivery, an end to potholes’’.
“We are one government, and agencies can support one another. The current budget isn’t sufficient to do all the work at once. Over 1,500km in Kampala are yet to be paved and they need regular maintenance,” she told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview yesterday.
Ms Kisaka recently attributed KCCA’s failure to fix the potholes to underfunding.
“These are over potholed roads which need total scrapping. So we look forward to the support. What needs to be done is to plot who does what to deliver services to Kampala according to the available budget,” she added.
The Attorney General, Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka last evening confirmed that he also received a copy of the letter, and explained that they will execute the directive in accordance with the law.
Maj Jimmy Omara, the SFC spokesperson, yesterday said: “I can assure you that we are ready,” Maj Omara said, adding, “We are going to rehabilitate and reconstruct all roads and work on poor drainage at a low cost. Our engineers say the job is achievable. It is not a difficult job for the SFC.”