On Wednesday this week, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) issued a warning to city residents about flood hotspots and warned road users of most risky roads during the rainy season.
This comes in the wake of recent incidents where city dwellers have either been injured in accidents or lost their lives during a downpour. Ugandans have been told to expect heavy rain characterised by flooding, strong winds and lightning.
And the city is not spared. Usually this season brings with it episodes of submerged roads, collapsed infrastructure and the emergence of giant potholes. And the cause of this is sometimes shoddy work done by companies hired to put up infrastructure.
These service providers flout terms of the contract and end up with something that is different from what was approved.
The motivation for these firms usually is greed. They aim at making more profit by using substandard material, reduced sizes and quantities as compared to what was approved.
This act of greed is sometimes very costly. People have lost both lives and property.
The city authority’s acting head of public and corporate affairs, Mr Daniel Muhumuza Nuweabine, in February wrote that the poor state of roads in Kampala is set to become history.
He said 75 per cent of the 600km of paved road network has outlived its design life and is exhibiting failures such as potholes and edge distress.
But as long as we continue letting shoddy work go unpunished, even the $260m from the African Development Bank to construct and repair more than 70km of city roads will go to waste.
The authority needs to make an example of some of those contractors that do not meet their obligations.
Not only should they forfeit working for the authority, but they should also be prosecuted. Only then will the others wake up.
The city authority should also look internally to make sure there are no staff colluding with these contractors.
Because how do you explain the collapse of a drainage channel, hardly a month after it was declared complete by the contractor and endorsed by the authority?
We need to wake up because people’s lives are at stake. All those responsible for shoddy road works must be brought to book.