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Residents Criticise UNRA as Floods Cut Off Kyapa-Kasensero Road

The 41-km road connects the Kasensero Landing Site and Kyebe communities to the Kyotera–Mutukula highway. However, the road has been impassable for over two weeks after persistent seasonal rainfall that led to flooding in Toome where an area covering close to three kilometres was submerged.
Women and men walk through the floods covering about two and a half kilometers from Toome swamp

Audio 6

Residents, transporters, and traders in Kasensero town council and Kyebe sub-county have faulted the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) for shoddy works along the Kyapa-Kasensero road.  

The 41-km road connects the Kasensero Landing Site and Kyebe communities to the Kyotera–Mutukula highway. However, the road has been impassable for over two weeks after persistent seasonal rainfall that led to flooding in Toome where an area covering close to three kilometres was submerged.

The other affected areas are Kamulindwa, Bukoola, Nzizi, Kasuli, Nziiko, Ssekaningo and Kyapa-Mayanja, where residents, motorists and motorcyclists have been unable to use the road due to the increased floods.  Now, many of them are using boats that charge between 10,000 and 22,000 Shillings to cross the Toome section, while those who cannot afford the boats brave a risky walk through the water.

UNRA took up emergency repairs of the impassable sections of the road in February 2020 following the flooding that occurred in 2019. It was argued that the contractor-M/S Summit Projekt Ltd, which had been hired to do the repairs to a tune of 9.6 million Shillings was inefficient which prompted UNRA to prematurely terminate their contract.

Allen Kagina, the UNRA Executive Director inspected the road with a team of engineers before the repairs started. However, the residents are furious that UNRA could have engaged another incompetent contractor- Kasese Nail and Wood Industry Limited, which failed to level up the worst sections which the previous contractor had tried to do to avoid flooding. 

They say that the quality of murram that was used was poor which worsened the situation. George William Ssonko, 70, and his helper Wilson Ssemwezi of Kanabulemu trading centre could not afford a boat to cross the floods to find a medical facility where he could get malaria treatment.

//Cue in; “Banjzigye mu ddwaliro ate… 

Cue out…aviirako wano ku pikki.”// 

Harriet Nabirye, an expectant mother from Kasensero, narrates that she has crossed the floods twice since last week for a medical checkup in Kalisizo Hospital. She adds that she risks walking through the waist-high floods because she cannot afford to pay for a boat. 

//Cue in; “Era ebizibu byensanga…

Cue out…era tebijja kutereera.”// 

James Masinga, a boat operator says he responded to the need for the people to cross the flooded areas not necessarily to make money.

//Cue in; “Ekyokusabaja abantu tetukitwala nga…

Cue out…saala aba amaze okufa.”//  

However, those dealing in retail merchandise say that they pay between 6,000 and 8,000 Shillings for helpers to push their motorcycles and merchandise through the flooded area.  

//Cue in; “Wano omusindisi bwagaba…

Cue out… nga enkande bweti.”// 

Charles Nsimbe Njuba, the Kyebe Sub-county councillor, attributes the flooding to failure by UNRA to up the level in the swampy areas and the absence of culverts to channel the water from one end to the other.   He further adds that the flooding also come as a result of the weed and papyrus that overgrew in Toome drainage. 

Julius Musinguzi, the UNRA Regional Manager Central, says that works along the swamp and flooded areas cannot to completed in one day adding that the repairs are long term.  He explains that the design of the worst places is still going on for a lasting solution therefore the road users should be patient.

//Cue in; “First of all as long-term… 

Cue out…that road and cross.”//