By Andrew Irumba
FortPortal: Last week, Spy Uganda wrote an exclusive story detailing how a hardly one year old 50km Kyenjojo-Fort Portal road was already being repaired in the areas of Kibale forest.
This multibillion road was commissioned by president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni during 2021-2026 presidential elections and shamingly in few months it had developed cracks before being washed by rain few weeks ago.
Our reporter reached out to UNRA’s executive director, the workholic Allen Kagina to get their side of story, who promised to investigate as soon as possible and avail us with facts on ground.
Indeed minutes later her PRO office department called back and explained thus; “Yes, although the road is under repair, the tax payer’s money is safe because it’s being repaired by the contractor under the auspices of the two year defect liability period agreement we signed with them. This means that they will repair the road at their cost for two years before they handover responsibility to us,” explained UNRA’s Mr Kirenga Steven from PR department.
However,when our reporter pressed him harder to explain why a one year old road should have potholes,to begin with,even before we apportion the responsibility to the contractor to repair, Kirenga said it’s ‘normal’ in engineering business, the reason they already found ‘remedy’ for the same.
The road which was fully funded by the Government of Uganda at a cost of shs 119 billion was contracted to China Wu Yi construction firm.
“Mr.Kirenga, even before we go to who should repair, president Museveni launched this road in December 2020, this is December 2021. One year exactly, just imagine you’ve contracted an engineer to build you a house and in a year it has cracks in the ceiling, and the engineer, to ‘settle’ your worries, tells you that he will repair it for two years! Will you stay in that house in peace?
Secondly, what about when this ceiling falls on you or your child, will the engineer’s ‘compensation’ plan still hold water? Because road users are getting accidents caused by potholes, even having their cars spoilt due to the bad road, did the engineer also agree to repair our cars when they get spoilt here?” Our reporter pressed, to which Kirenga responded thus; “No I think that would be over stretching. The contract talks about road repairs in two years. May be we can look into that in the future,but for now that’s how it’s”.
Our investigator has also learnt that in Uganda, contractual anomalies are now being taken as ‘normal’ because they have been occuring for a long time and become part of our lives. For instance, it’s now normal for a road to ‘collapse’ in one year or a bridge at Lukaya to be constructed twice in a year without much a do, but it’s an ‘abomination’ for a building to collapse after 10 year! Why? Because the building kills probably 5 people on spot, where as the road will kill few but, periodically.
UNRA,says they withhold a percentage of money for two years to cater for such ‘dipressions’ in the road untill such a time when they’re comfortable with its status.
Our efforts to reach out to minister of works and transport Gen Katumba Wamala proved futile as our repeated calls went unanswered.