Bussi Island, which is 10kilometers away from Entebbe town, remains secluded and visibly detached from the rest of Wakiso district because of poor physical infrastructure and lack of proper transport means.
Wakiso district is hunting for over Shillings
40 billion to put up road infrastructure connecting Bussi Island to the
mainland. Bussi Island, which is 10kilometers away from Entebbe
town, remains secluded and visibly detached from the rest of Wakiso district
because of poor physical infrastructure and lack of proper transport means.
A wooden canoe from Nakiwogo land site or
through Kasanje Town Council at Mabamba bay is the starting point for anyone
visiting the island which is home to over 50,000 people. Although there is a
distance of approximately 2.5 kilometers from the mainland to the island,
crossing to either side takes over three hours and costs Shillings 30,000.
Eng. Samuel Mwesigwa, the Wakiso District Engineer, says the
district has been carrying out geological and hydrological studies and
consultations since last year, which show that it is possible to put in place the
road infrastructure. Eng. Mwesigwa notes that they have benchmarked from a similar
project in Mpigi District connecting to Bunjako Island, which is at the same
length and same geology with Bussi.
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Maura Atwongerwe, the Managing Director Atoria Civil Lab, which
arried out the Geotechnical investigations notes that they have found that the
soils in the area are strong enough to hold an embankment but need adequate construction
period to prevent sectional failures in the future.
"As evidence of this, the Bunjako island embankment
crossing has been stable but there are sectional failures caused by the method
used and materials, which makes the road expensive to maintain,” said
Atwongerwe. However, Esau Mpoza, the Wakiso District Environment Officer,
says the geotechnical findings are not enough to tell whether the road has
received green lights.
He notes that the proposed road is situated in a very
sensitive area, which has also been identified as a wetland of international
importance, adding that if anything is to be done, it must be with detailed
mitigation measures. Mpoza says that he has already submitted his views to the National
Environment Management Authority-NEMA, which is currently reviewing the
environmental impact assessment report of the project.
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Eng. Mwesigwa says the difficult phase towards the actualisation
of the project is resource mobilisation. Currently, Wakiso District annual road
budget stands at Shillings four billion, which means they need ten years to
achieve their desire at the expense of all other projects.
Eng. Mwesigwa says they have agreed to start
with the little funds they have as they continue lobbying. He says the district is considering entering
into the public-private partnership since there might developers interested in
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Stanely Kabuye, the Bussi Sub County LC 3 Chairperson
observes that if the road is to be constructed, it should begin from Bussi to
enable his people benefit. He says the island has all the necessary materials
needed for road construction including murrum and hard cores among others.
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Mwesigwa notes that he would also like to start the
construction from Bussi due to the availability and proximity of resources.
Last year, Wakiso district Authorities considered affirmative action for
Bussi Island, which is one of the hard to reach areas in the district despite
its huge tourism and mining potential.
The lack of transport means Bussi residents cannot
access social services such as schools, health and banking among others.
Despite the hardship, the island is covered in the mellow sound of birds and
often attracts tourists. The island is a home to the famous shoebill
storks and several other bird species among them the long-tied lapwing,
kingfisher, village Weaver and African Jacana.
The project is also
proposing to put up several raised bird watching towers to spur tourism in the
area. The anticipated road construction has also seen
several investors putting up recreation grounds, hotels and beaches.
Surprisingly land in this area is becoming more expensive with an acre going
for Shillings 50 million.