Rural areas have better roads than Kampala City, says report

Speaker Anita Among (right) receives the 26th Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Annual Report for 2023 from chairperson Mariam Wangadya at Parliament on May 23, 2024. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The latest human rights report faults KCCA for poorly managing city roads that are mostly narrow and riddled with potholes. 

A new government report says the rural areas of Uganda have better transport infrastructure than the Kampala Metropolitan area that covers Kampala City, Mukono and Wakiso districts. 

The 26th Annual Report of the State of Human Rights and Freedoms in Uganda for 2023 faults Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for poorly managing city roads that are mostly narrow and riddled with potholes. 

Ms Mariam Wangadya, the chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), yesterday handed over the report to Ms Anita Among, the Speaker of Parliament. 

“The UHRC found a stark contrast between transport infrastructure in the countryside and that in the Kampala Metropolitan Area. While rural areas boast of good-quality infrastructure, Kampala, Mukono, and Wakiso face significant challenges,” the report read in part. 

“The UHRC noted that a number of roads in Mukono, Wakiso, and Kampala districts are majorly narrow, dusty, and with potholes, due to lack of road maintenance. In 2023, social media was awash with citizens decrying the poor roads in Kampala and Wakiso,” the report said. 

In the same report, citizens are credited for having taken to their social media accounts, particularly X, formerly Twitter, to press for sanity on roads within Kampala city. 

“This led to an online petition, ‘Kampala pothole exhibition,’ led by Dr Spire Ssentongo in April 2023 on Twitter (X) intended to expose the poor conditions of the roads in our country and appeal to the Government to address the situation,” the report stated. 

“Citizens shared photos of potholes in different parts of the city, most of which depicted the deteriorating roads. The pothole exhibition also highlighted the lack of accountability and transparency in infrastructure planning and implementation,” it added. 

KCCA defence
In her defence, regarding the findings by the researchers, Ms Dorothy Kisaka, the KCCA executive director, said her office lacked sufficient funding to upgrade, maintain and improve the city roads that have outlived their 20-year lifespan.  

“Ms Dorothy Kisaka, the Executive Director of KCCA, indicated that KCCA required Shs70 billion-100 billion annually to fix roads, yet the Government had only allocated Shs26 billion. It was also noted that the roads have served far beyond their lifespan of 20 years, with the increasing number of vehicles further worsening the wear and tear of the roads,” the report said. 

Whereas Ms Kisaka reported that only Shs26 billion was allocated to KCCA for the said cause during the year under review, the same report established that “a total of Shs2.25 trillion was also allocated for addressing flooding, traffic congestion, poor road infrastructure, un-signalised junctions and unemployment in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA).” 

The 2024/2025 budget that was passed last Thursday by the House sitting chaired by Speaker Anita Among, okayed “Shs592.08 billion to address flooding, traffic congestion, poor road infrastructure, un-signalised junctions, provision of street lighting and storm water drainage enhancements in Kampala.” 

Data from the Uganda National Roads (UNRA) quoted by the same report showed that only 13.1 per cent of Uganda’s network makes up the national trunk, with only 28 per cent tarmacked.  “Uganda has a total road network of 159,364km [comprising] 20,854km (13.1 percent) of national (trunk) roads, 38,603km (24.2 percent) of district roads, 19,959km (12.5 percent) of urban roads and approximately 79,948km (50.2 percent) of community access roads,” the report read. 

It added: “According to the UNRA annual performance report for FY 2021/2022, the national road network stood at 21,120km as at 30th June 2022. Of this, 5,880km (28 percent) were tarmacked (paved) and 15,240km (72 percent) were murram (unpaved). There were also paved national roads, which stood at 6,133km of the 20,854km (strategic roads providing access to among others, mineral extraction regions and all borders of Uganda).” 

Other outcomes
Elsewhere, the government’s continued shutdown on Facebook is condemned, with the UHRC showing that at least 3.3 million users are affected. 

“For more than a year now, Facebook, with more than 3,328,000 million local subscribers, has been blocked,” the report stated in part. The report said the shutdown has limited peoples’ access to information hence denying them to contribute to development planning. 

Similarly, journalists’ efforts to deliver timely and authentic information to the audience is heavily impeded by the restricted access to information from uncooperative government authorities. 

“The UHRC noted that many journalists end up with poorly written stories/articles because they are blocked from getting information,” the report noted. It added: “Journalists also carry out self-censorship for fear of being arrested, prosecuted and having their licences withdrawn by UCC.” 

The report also noted: “The inability of journalists to access information from public bodies in a timely manner limits their level of participation, decision making and monitoring of Government Programmes for effective service delivery.” 

PWDs affected
Government policies that result in high costs slapped on assistive technology devices are equally faulted for making it hard for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to access information. These devices include screen reading braille, hand-held magnifiers, software, screen magnifiers, manual Perkins, hand frames/slates and communication boards. 

In her remarks to the Speaker, the UHRC chairperson decried the escalating level of hate speech in the country, with pronounced cases registered in the Central region. 

On the other hand, Ms Among urged the UHRC management to focus on executing their mandate and also embrace public scrutiny as it bolsters sound performance within government institutions. 

“You know you are the bridge between Government and the Opposition, you are the bridge and you must make sure that you act professionally for you to gain the public trust and since you are the bridge, I want you to accept public scrutiny,” she said. 


“It is our hope as UHRC, that the Parliament, the Executive, and all Institutions of Government to which recommendations have been made, will give due attention to the respective issues raised. We are fully convinced that implementation of recommendations made, will greatly enhance the protection and promotion of human rights in the country,” Mariam Wangadya, chairperson Human Rights Commission