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Poor State of Karuma-Olwiyo-Pakwach Road Irks Users

The road connects Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo stretching from Karuma in Kiryandongo district through Olwiyo in Nwoya district and Pakwach-Zombo in the West Nile.
A Kampala City bound bus from Paidha maneuvers through the potholes on the Karuma-Pakwach Highway. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

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Road users are unhappy with the poor state of the 214 kilometres Karuma-Olwiyo-Pakwach-Nebbi-Arua highway road. 

The road connects Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo stretching from Karuma in Kiryandongo district through Olwiyo in Nwoya district and Pakwach-Zombo in the West Nile.   

The road was upgraded to class II bitumen surface with drainage channels, culverts and shoulders in 2001 at a tune of 100 billion shillings. It is the major business route between Acholi and the West Nile Sub Regions and DRC as well as the only potential road to the Murchison National Game Park.   

It has for more than three years been in a sorry state with several potholes, poor drainages and sharp edges which has not only affected smooth flows of traffic, businesses, responses to health and crime emergencies but also death traps.  

The most dangerous spots extend from Karuma junction in Kiryandongo to Agung-Olwiyo-Wiya Nono-Got Apwoyo and near the Pakwach Bridge.   

The users say that their constant plight to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and their local leaders over the years have yielded no fruits.   

Statistics from the Nwoya district Boda Boda association indicates that more than thirteen riders have this year alone died from accidents along with the dangerous spots on the road.

The police report also indicates that several road accidents have also been registered along the road over the years.   

Albert Oringa, the Nwoya District Boda Boda Association says that the poor state of the road has caused the lives of many of his members, especially at night.

//Cue in: ‘’lok pa lupu…   

Cue out: …madong pe ber.’’//     

Oringa demanded that the government expeditiously repairs the road to save the lives of the people and businesses as well.   

Janet Oola, the District Health Officer for Nwoya says that the poor state of the road has greatly affected their responses to health emergencies especially the ones that require the use of ambulances.

The Paramount Chief for Acholi, Onen David Acana II also complained of the poor state of the road saying that it is unbearable and slows down traffic and also deters investors from coming into such areas. 

Gilbert Olanya, the Member of Parliament for Kilak South County and former APG General Secretary, demanded the government to repair the road before more lives are lost, noting that hundreds of automobiles traverse the road daily.  

//Cue in: ‘’vehicles are getting…   

Cue out: …to allow this.’’//   

In May, UNRA said that it has engaged a Chinese firm, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Uganda Limited to make remedial repairs on the Olwiyo-Pakwach Road.   

However, on Friday URN reporter travelled on the road but found that only a handful of the dangerous spots had been repaired leaving hundreds of potholes and water channels. 

Several trucks were also found stuck in the middle of the road with punctures and mechanical problems resulting from the poor conditions.