OP-ED

NRM Govt accused of turning deaf ears on road network crisis in Zombo

A pathethic accident scene on the Paidha-Nyapea road in Zombo District attributed to the poor state of roads in the area

By Alithum Hillary

Zombo, (UG): Zombo District since its inception has been and will be a stronghold, a haven of votes for the NRM government during  Democratic elections, the residents cast over 70 per cent of their votes to any NRM candidates with better scores for the National chairman in Presidential elections. And recently Zombo District was awarded overall champion for voting NRM in the 2021 general elections.

The district that has a total road network of 829km seeks retribution for the votes cast for the NRM government to manifest in the construction of better road networks, bridges and culverts to ease the movement of goods and people.

Now, the psychologically and ideologically reoriented residents of Zombo are cognizant of the drastic imbalances in development and the unbelievable investment in bearly habitable areas. The National Resistance Army’s government which was envisioned to Joshua delivering Uganda to the promised land is stealthily doubted for diversionaryly and deliberately becoming inconsiderate to the convenience of the people of Zombo District.

True to the reckoning, other regions and their inhabitants are in the promised land with amazingly sparkling infrastructures, a better section is nearing the promised land but the likes of Zombo district are contemplating the assumed outlook of the promised land and the sparkling infrastructures of road connectivity for the agriculturally and economically rich district gridlocked on Uganda, the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo borders with enormous opportunities to be tapped.

The appalling road status of the non-fully gravelled perishable roads exacerbated by the poor in-compactible soil which results in muddy compositions becomes a real obstacle towards transportation during rainy seasons and a fuming dust during the dry seasons.

A section of Meira road in Zombo District appears to be in an appalling situation before the eyes of the residents

Residents say the roads need very urgent attention, not thrilling promises and impact least surveys on the current status of the 56km National Road network of the district.

According to the people of Zombo, there is a deliberate move and absolute lack of will by the government not to tarmac the roads of the agriculturally productive and economically potential district with very alluvial soils supporting the production of several agricultural crops shielding the area from food insecurity and serving West Nile Region as a food basket.

The Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA) and the Ministry of Works and Transport in September 2022 conducted an assessment of roads in Greater Nebbi districts and acknowledged having finished the designs of the about 120 km stretch of road from Nebbi – Jukia- Goli- Paidha- Warr and Vurra custom in 2018 but appropriation and sourcing for funds has not been prioritized by government opinionated because of inadequate economic interest in the area.

Less of funds, other roads that queued after the ones in question have been, are being and will be constructed ( tarmac) and the funds are readily available unlike for greater Nebbi districts even Presidential promises and directives have not positively affected any narrative.

The poor road network that is associated with the increased road carnage, inflated prices of commodities and cost of transport continue to dwindle the staunch support for the party and the government in Zombo district and greater Nebbi districts. Each and every time lives are lost and scores are injured in accidents, people reflect on the deteriorated roads as retribution for their costless and impact least votes for the NRM government and commiserate the pathetic verbal lies by reputable NRM cadres who ceremoniously sympathize with the local communities while accosting the unfilled promises of the government.

Many people argue that the right time for the government to have constructed the road was when it had a vested interest in the exploitation of the lendu forest and other resources in Zombo district.

Nevertheless, the interest of the leaders of the district is another valuable way forward but the acuity and acumen with which the wish for better road connectivity is approached with soothing objectives that attract the interest of the government, especially the exceptional custom points of Padea, Goli, Vurra and the agriculturally rich soil and climate, the easier the bide to prioritize the roads.

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The author is a concerned resident of Zombo District in the West Nile Region of Uganda.



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