Vandals target Tororo’s USMID street lights, drainage systems

Tororo Municipality officials inspect Hillary Road that has the biggest number of broken drainage systems in May 2024. Photo /Joseph Omollo

What you need to know:

  • Mr James Opio, a trader and a resident of Tororo Town, said the council has not bothered to repair the broken drainages along the walkways.

Residents and leaders in Tororo Municipality have raised concern over rampant vandalism of street lights and drainage systems on roads constructed under the World Bank’s Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project.

Monitor has learned that about 57 percent of the installed street lights in the central business area are non-functional after their batteries and charger controllers were vandalised.

The first phase of the roads built under USMID included Market Street, Bazaar Street, Obua Lane, Kashmir, Tagore East, and West at Shs 12 billion by Plinth Technical Services.

The second phase, which included Tororo Bus and Taxi Park, Market Street Lower Road, and Oguti II Road, cost  Shs11 billion.

The third phase, which included the construction of Oguti I, Rock Crescent West, and Uhuru Road by Dott Services, cost Shs23 billion.

Mr James Opio, a trader and a resident of Tororo Town, said the council has not bothered to repair the broken drainages along the walkways.

“This is making the roads constructed under USMID project a death trap for travellers, especially during the rainy season and at night,” Mr Opio said.

Mr Akim Muhammed Bwire, who runs a hardware business in Tororo Town, said the municipal authorities have also failed to regulate heavy trucks, which keep breaking the slabs and knocking the street lights along the roads.
“They should step up monitoring using the law enforcement officers,” he said.

Mr Stephen Ajalu, the senior urban development specialist at the World Bank, asked the council authorities to ensure that those implicated are apprehended and charged before courts of law to send a strong message to others.

Mr Ajalu also expressed concern over the low absorption of the USMID funds by the Tororo Municipal Council.  “This may see more than Shs4.3 billion returned to the Consolidated Fund yet the funding for the programme [USMID] is in its final stages,” he said during an inspection of the USMID roads at the weekend.

Mr Isaac Mutenyo, the national coordinator for the USMID programme, castigated the council for underutilisation of some of the new infrastructure.  “Unfortunately, the bus and taxi park have been turned into parking lots for private cars by individuals who are dodging to pay street parking fees,” Mr Mutenyo said.

The Deputy RDC, Mr  Albert Amula,  said they will offer support to safeguard all the installations.

He challenged the central government to allow municipalities to use part of the Uganda Road Fund to maintain USMID roads.

The deputy mayor, Ms Beatrice Achola, acknowledged, among other issues, the broken drainages and said the council will work to address some of the issues. She said the constructed roads have played a role in improving the face of town.

The USMID programme, funded by the World Bank, through a $150m loan, was initially set for a period of five years from 2013 – 2018. The project was added another five years. The overall programme objective is to enhance the institutional performance of municipal councils across the country to improve service delivery.