What awaits Museveni on his tour of West Nile

Trucks stuck on Nebbi-Goli-Paidha road last year. West Nile Sub-region has for decades been faced with a poor road network, which leaders say has derailed the area’s development. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Top on the list is the poor state of roads, unreliable power supply and water crisis.

Various leaders in West Nile have held meetings to brainstorm on the issues they want President Museveni to address when he visits the sub-region next month.
Top on the list is the poor state of roads, unreliable power supply, water crisis and contradictions in the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM).

The sub-region has for decades been faced with a poor road network linking the various districts and an insufficient power supply, which have affected development of the area.
And now, the leaders want the President, who is expected in the sub-region from April 11 to 13, to urgently address these issues.
The chairperson of West Nile Parliamentary Forum, Mr Lawrence Biyika Songa, said on Wednesday that the sub-region still lags behind in terms of roads and electricity access.

“We checked the status of Pakwach Bridge, which actually needs to be condemned and a new one constructed but it needs to be rehabilitated in the meantime. The road from Pakwach to Panyimur is an oil road, which the government should take up because it’s in a bad condition and is a recipe for accidents,” Mr Songa, who is also the Ora County Member of Parliament in Zombo District, said.

The West Nile Sub-region, according to the 2023 Unra report, has a road network of 16,917kms. Of this, 214km (13 percent) are paved roads.
One of the frequent users of Arua-Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo road, Mr Jesca Adiru, said: “During rainy seasons, we cannot do any business. It is like we are not paying taxes. We do not see the value. A tarmacked road can facilitate easy transportation of goods to the markets timely.”
She added: “When will these promises be fulfilled? The President is aware and there must be deliberate effort to keep us in darkness.”

Unra says the ongoing projects include Atyak –Adjumani-Umi road (66km),
Olwiyo- Pakwach road (62.5km), Alwi- Nebbi road (43km) and bridges (Alla, Gazi, Aca, Osu, Kochi, Odra, Amua) .
Mr Songa said they want the road from Panyimur to Pakwach via Wadilai  and Panjala to be treated as an oil, tourism or security road so that it is tarmacked like those in Bunyoro Sub-region.
Equally, the Obongi County MP, Dr George Bhoka, said there is also a need to prioritise construction of Laropi Bridge and associated roads, especially the route that connects them to many districts to promote farming.

Power demands
The Moyo District chairperson, Mr Williams Anyama, said the sub-region wants a secure energy future by investing in energy infrastructure such as sub stations in Moyo, Nebbi and Arua for reliable power distribution.
“The Parish Development Model cannot succeed independent of other drivers of the economy. Electricity remains a critical factor that drives the economy and so we need a stable supply of electricity,” Mr Anyama, who is also the chairperson of West Nile Development Association (WENDA), said.

Mr Bernard Atafu, the convener of West Nile Convocation 2023, said there have always been conspiracies that have left the West Nile Sub-region not connected to the national grid.
“Why should West Nile continue to remain in the dark for all these years? We need power that can enable industries set up here. Investors here have potential businesses which they can tap into the monies from DR Congo, South Sudan and Central Africa. This will in turn enable the region to tap into those revenues and spur growth,” he said.
Last week, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa commissioned the 400Kva power station in Nwoya District. But the pylon to evacuate the power from Olwiyo to the West Nile has not been completed.

The critical road infrastructure  in poor state includes; Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo (103km), Karuma- Olwiyo (52km), Laropi- Moyo - Jale (32km), Manibe- Yumbe  (77km) and Nebbi-Goli-Paidha-Zombo-Vurra (166km).
Others are Adjumani-Obongi- Kulikulinga (138km), Panyimur-Pakwach-Rhino camp-Obongi-Moyo ( 290km), Kilak-Rhino Camp (99km) Arua City- Lia- Odramacaku (20.6km), Pakwach-Inde - Ocoko (93.6 km) and Panyimur- Parombo-Erussi. New Pakwach Bridge, Kiakia Bridge and Rhino camp- Amuru ferry landing sites have remained in awful state.