"Pay Us Now," Victims of Mbarara-Katuna Road Reconstruction Demand

Anxiety is rising over the delayed compensation of families displaced by reconstruction of the Mbarara-Katuna Road.
More than 2,000 people whose houses and businesses were displaced by the reconstruction Mbarara-Katuna Road in southwestern Uganda are demanding the faster payment of their compensation money.


It is estimated that 15,000 people will be affected by the road reconstruction.  However the Uganda National Road Authority says the figure is much smaller.


The reduced statistics are backed by COWI Consultancy, the engineering firm that assessed and valuated the cost of constructing the Mbarara-Katuna Road.  Kevin Gallagher, the Managing Director of COWI, says only 2,000 people have real compensation claims.


The families with legitimate claims are not happy with just being deemed successful in their compensation bids. 


John Kwizera, a resident of Kitumba sub-county, says that for several months he has been promised payment for the destruction of his home.  He claims to have no information on how much the compensation will be or when and where it will be distributed.


Kwizera suspects that the promise of quick payment was only a ploy to convince people to vote for President Yoweri Museveni in last month’s elections.


Amos Katungwensi of Kamuganguzi sub-county says he is wary of the compensation process because of the challenges of families recently displaced by the reconstruction of the Kabale-Kisoro Road.  He says many people affected by that process regretted the hurried compensation process and were dissatisfied by the amount of money given to them.


Dan Alinange, corporate communications manager of Uganda Roads Authority, promises that the compensation for displacement of families on the Mbarara-Katuna Road will be sufficient. 


The 125-kilometer road is being built through a grant from the European Union.  Reconstruction is divided in two sections – building of the Mbarara-Ntungamo Road and rebuilding the Ntungamo-Kabale-Katuna highway to the border of Uganda and Rwanda.