Katakwi residents threaten to demonstrate over bad roads

A boda boda rider resting at Okilef cracked bridges after maneuvering potholes on Toroma-Magoro road [Photos by TND News Uganda]

Katakwi district residents have turned their annoyance and verbal artillery at the district leaders both political and technical over failure to repair roads which are in a deplorable state.

They said the leaders are to blame for the poor state of roads in the district since they are facilitated by the government. Angry locals say district leaders are too slow when it comes to the implementation of government projects.

Mr. Simon Omal of Pakwi village in Ngariam sub-county told TND News Uganda that the leaders are busy fighting political wars instead of concentrating on developmental projects that will get their constituents out of poverty.

“We have graders at the district but they are all stationed there as if they are tourist attractions. They have been abandoned there yet the roads are in a bad state,” Mr. Omal said.

He challenged district leaders to put hatred aside and work for the good of the people to develop the district.

“This system of making these graders personal property will not help you because people need better infrastructure,” says Joseph Opus alias Opupuu of Okile village in Amusia sub-county.

Mr. Opus said much to the delight of the locals, new tracks were opened almost everywhere in the villages and town councils in the last few years.

However, the ‘signs’ of development has started to irk the public now, thanks to the fast deteriorating routes.

“Potholes are seen in almost all the roads and they have turned into deathtraps,” Opus further noted.

Let alone in the rainy season, he says the roads are hardly in good condition even during dry season.

“The poor road network in the district speaks volumes about our real situation. Due to the potholes, we are simply not able to use them. It is so much like a deathtrap. Potholes everywhere,” added Opus.

“But where shall we complain? We cannot do anything about it when the authority is sleeping,” he fumed.

According to Mr. Thomas Okurut, one of the commuter Noah car drivers, they have to service their cars every day as bolts get loose due to the dilapidated roads.

“The roads are so much worse that it is wiser to wait rather than to set off in any journey,” said Okurut, adding, “things have not improved even after the floods.”

Mr. Okurut stated that the roads constructed just one or two years ago have also deteriorated a lot.

The 12 km road connecting the sub-counties of Toroma and Magoro looks no better with potholes ranging from small to big sizes.

John Aisekol, the area LC1 chairperson Adurukoi village in Magoro sub-county lamented that the concerned authorities have not shown any interest to repair the dilapidated roads.

“We don’t have proper roads here in the down town. The roads need repairs but nobody cares,” he commented.

The local leader claimed that the district leadership has not paid heed to the matter despite receiving complaints from the locals and several organizations.

“Due to the poor roads, the business of people has been affected,” he said.

“We are bearing the brunt for a long time. The dust is too much now. We are inhaling dust which is slow poison,” said Paul Ocom, a barber at Omodo trading center in the newly created Omodo sub-county.

“Everything is out of order and chaotic….. due to the poor roads we are now going to protest against it,” he added.

Angry speaking Ocom told our Eastern Uganda correspondence that repairing of roads is done just for coverup, adding that ‘even the upgraded roads don’t last for long.’

“They do come and repair it. But it does not last even two to three months,” he claimed.

LC5 chairman speaks out.

Hon. Walter Elakas Okiring, says the recent floods which ravaged the area, washing away crops and roads must face the blame for current poor roads’ statuses.

“The potholes are basically seen after the monsoon. Heavy rains trigger it,” he said.

According to him, the district has planned to fill those potholes soon, noting that Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA) has started working on central government roads.

“We have a work plan we are following and right now the said graders are in the field,” he said.

One of the central government roads being worked on include Toroma-Magoro road.

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