Residents of Kijabwemi Village in Kimaanya/ Kyabakuza Division in Masaka Municipality on Wednesday staged a demonstration to protest the poor state of roads in their area.
A policeman puts out a fire that was lit on the Masaka-Mbarara highway during the demonstration
Residents of Kijabwemi Village in Kimaanya/ Kyabakuza Division in Masaka Municipality on Wednesday staged a demonstration to protest the poor state of roads in their area. The road in contention is the area ring road that connects Kijabwemi to Kasijagirwa, Masaka Town, and Masaka Referral hospital
The residents led by the area Division Council Tony Ssempija are demanding to know why their leaders are not bothered about the appalling situation of the Kigamba Road which connects their area to Masaka Referral Hospital and other parts of the district.
The rioters blocked Masaka Mbarara highway with logs and car tires which they later set on fire interrupting traffic on the highway for hours until police intervened to arrest Ssempija and reopen the road.
Ssempijja claims that ever since this road was opened up in the late 1960’s it has never been rehabilitated yet for the last four financial years Kigamba road has featured on the budget and over 200 million shillings allocated for its reconstruction.
They claim that the condition of the road gets worse during the rainy season and want it rehabilitated immediately.
Edrisa Wasajja, a resident of Kijabwemi trading centre, says that they have repeatedly been told that money is allocated to rehabilitate Kigamba road but nothing is done.
He says that they decided to stage a demonstration to express their dissatisfaction with the authorities because the condition of the road has become unbearable.
Wasajja further accuse some technical staff of embezzling the money budgeted for repairing the road. He also faulted the town clerk for promising to rehabilitate the road on several occasions but in vain.
Patrick Kalungi, a boda boda cyclist, says that many lives of expectant mother have been lost because of the poor state of Kigamba road. He says that they spend at least an hour on what should be a 20 minutes ride because of the potholes on the road.
Kalungi says that his wife on Sunday got a miscarriage as he was transporting her to the hospital because of the poor state of the road.
He wants the district leadership to rehabilitate the road immediately because locals cannot freely access services with the current situation of the roads in their area.
Masaka District Police commander Edie Sserunjoji says that the demonstrators should have asked for permission before staging the demonstration.
He adds that Councillor Ssempijja who led the riot is likely to face charges participating in riot, inciting violence and malicious damage.
However, efforts to speak to Masaka Ton Clerk Jonathan Baryatuma Munono were futile as he would not pick up repeated calls.