MPs castigate govt over poor road network in Zombo

Kampala, (UG): The Members of Parliament representing Zombo District have come out to castigate the ruling NRM government for deliberately ignoring the plea of their calls for infrastructural development in the West Nile district.

The MPs who actively participated in the Parliament session on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, open-mindedly without fear of contradiction and affiliation to a political party for once articulated the plight of the people on the national podium.

The trio who include Hon Biyika Lawrence Songa (Orra County), Hon Gabriel Okumu (Okoro Constituency) and Esther Afoyocan (Zombo Woman MP) enumerated the economic potentiality and the hurdles experienced as a result of the deplorable state of roads in the district.

They stated that the 119km road that runs through the districts of Arua, Nebbi and Zombo connecting three major border points of Goli, Padea and Vurra is in a sorry state and thus cannot usher cargo trucks to the international routes that lead to markets in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and part of Central African Republic respectively.

DailyExpress has learnt that President Museveni needless to recount promised the tarmacking of the road in question and a countless number of times it vividly became a consolation and soft target to seek votes from the people for about 3 decades.

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The most recent directives on urgent shaping of the road came from the horse mouth the fountain of honour during the coronation anniversary (2022) of Rwoth Ubimo Philip of Ker Alur that saw him flown to Atyak in Zombo District. 

To that effect, the political leaders who made presentations on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, February 6, attested to having written and delivered verbal reminders as a follow-up of the promise but none has matured todate.

The Nebbi- Goli -Paidha -Zombo Zeu -Warr- Vurra – lia -Odramacako roads that are characterized and coded as economic, tourism and security roads are said to have been documented in the National Development Plan lll of the government with their feasibility studies and designs finalized( 2017/18), secured and lying in the Files of the ministry of works and transport and the Uganda National Roads Authority awaiting availability of finances that has never been created and prioritized.

This according to the MPs portrays a bold lack of will to construct the road as it features nowhere close to priorities but rather deferred for future executions on grounds of limited finances in the face of abundant resources to shape roads and other infrastructures where tentacles of government sense good tidings.

Hon. Songa who tabled the motion that orchestrated the ministerial statement on the floor of the August house says the government is trashing the meticulous opportunity of raising revenue estimated to the tune of 3 billion dollars from the DRC market through the border points of Goli, Padea and Vurra.

“If there is any road which has higher returns on investments it’s that road and it fits well with the policy of connecting all border posts of Uganda to tarmac,” Songa informed the August house on Tuesday afternoon.

The MP’s concern stems from the ugly scene of a peaceful demonstration organised by a section of youthful activists in the late months of 2023 decrying the hiccups presented by the sorry state of roads manifested in the forms of road accidents, and high cost of transportation among others.

Sound and pro-people political actors started reckoning in the interest of the people to bargain with the government to effect the construction of the road and they fronted several high-profile engagement sessions engineered by individuals and groups eventually documents laid on the floor of Parliament prompted the ministerial statement in regards to the upgrade of the 119km stretch of roads and was delivered on Tuesday, February 6th, 2024.

Hon. Esther Afoyocan, Zombo Woman MP boldly articulated the lack of inadequate will of the government to maintain and shape the roads while she cited the availability of finances to tarmac roads in other areas and regions of the country.

“The ministry is not interested in dealing with this issue at any angle they are not interested in looking for any form of money for this road majority of people from northern Uganda pick food from Zombo because of this road women are dying every day on that road and the ministry doesn’t have any form of interest probably because where they come from the roads are better,” Hon Afoyocan remarked during the plenary session.

This 119km stretch of road and bridges on it only feel the presence of the Uganda National Roads Authority together with other two bodies that are mandated to maintain the different apportioned segments of the road to achieve a motorable state at a time when it is impassable and there is community outcry.

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Hon. Gabriel Okumu, the MP for Okoro constituency presented the plight of the bridges along the 119km stretch of roads and noted shoddy, incomplete works and corruption.

“…in 2021 Adraa bridge was only launched and only cleared and four other bridges money was released when we investigated they said Money was misappropriated,” Hon Okumu noted.

The Ministry of Works and Transport has further tasked Uganda National Roads Authority to continue routine maintenance of the 119km stretch of Nebbi- Goli -Paidha -Zombo -Zeu Warr -Vurra- lia -Odramacako roads to motorable state as Government sources for finances to construct the road in future.

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