As the rainy season continues, Kampala City dwellers are already witnessing the rough side of floods that have become a catastrophe for many years.
On Monday, social media was awash with sturdy men making money by carrying women across a flooded section of the city.
Mr Oyaka Makmot, a member of Afrikanpatriot, a patriotism site, tweeted: “It’s most unfortunate that these images continue to show up whenever there is a heavy downpour in Kampala. I cannot imagine seeing my mother carried in this way!"
After a few hours, Kampala City Council Authority’s (KCCA) deputy Lord Mayor Doreen Nyanjura replied to a tweet generated by police chief political commissar Asan Kasingye. Mr Kasinye had appeared appalled by the images. He said: “But really, we can save our mothers from this embarrassment."
Ms Nyanjura replied: “KCCA uses budgets allocated to it by Central government. Call @GovUganda to add money for roads for KCCA & other local governments.
“We’ve been receiving less in roads, schools, security etc. Solution cannot be accepting to be blamed for the sectors we are in. Eg blame Mr Kasingye for poor housing in police and Ms Nyanjura for floods in Kampala. We have a central government that appropriates the budget. They are guilty."
Many other engagements emerged calling for better service delivery. But where have we gone wrong as a nation? Why have city floods persisted every rainy season? Should we consider this as a natural phenomenal?
On 8th Street in Industrial Area, just opposite Total head office, whenever it rains, the potholes give motorists huddles. One has to navigate through the deep potholes by guessing the shallow sides.
Tuesday’s downpour made the section of the road impassable, motorcyclists would wade through the flooded road by splashing water on pedestrians and fellow riders.
For the past three years, KCCA officials have been attempting to fix the potholes but it seems they have failed. In February, the authority worked on the potholes but it took them less than 90 days to again dig up the section of the road.
The road is barely a kilometre-long and links to, among other places, Namuwongo Market via Total Uganda head office, Daily Monitor head office and Shell fuel depots, among others.
The 8th Street paints a dark picture of many other road sections in the city. The time is ripe for the KCCA technical and political wing to work together and render a service.
Our leaders must also develop a constructive approach in dealing with the citizenry. Although, Ms Nyanjura had a right to pour her frustration towards government funding, it wasn’t a constructive approach. City dwellers are actually angrier than she might be, they have seen it all on these streets.
All they need is better services.
We also need to carry out independent probe on some of the funds allocated for the construction works in this city.
For instance, what would be the basis for a budget enhancement if we cannot fix blocked drainages and potholes? Upgrading of one kilometre of road from gravel to bitumen can cost upwards of $1 million (Shs3.6b), according to Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) estimates, subject to lanes, terrain and layering materials used.
These monies raise eyebrows on continuous works on 8th Street year after year. Could it be a syndicate attempt- to swindle money by rendering a poor service?
As we wait for the next repairs, KCCA’s technical wing should fix this road and other city roads once and for all. We deserve good roads as Ugandans who pay taxes.