“For example, it currently, painfully takes between 2 to 3 hours to travel the 75km stretch from Lira to Kamdini, while within the same time one can travel the 300km length from Kamdini to Kampala. This makes it a major setback during a medical emergency,” Dr Acuti told UNRA ED, Allen Kagina.
Lira—11, February 2021: The state of some key roads in Lango sub-region continues to worry leaders and locals. This is because both local and central governments (leaders) are not committed to addressing the concern promptly.
Sadly, these roads have claimed both cattle and human lives and injured dozens. Some have become disabled for life.
One major road that has caused wider debates, making both elites and locals within Lango to debate and talk with one heart, is the ‘potholed Lira-Kamdini highway’.
Following series of unproductive responses from the government in recent years, on 8 February 2021, Dr Samuel Opio Acuti, the Kole North MP-elect wrote a letter to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Executive Director.
“This is to bring to your notice that the current Lira-Kamdini road, a 75km stretch, is in a deplorable, dismal and depressing state. There are not less than 1,243 potholes on this road which traverses three districts, namely Oyam, Kole and Lira, but most of all it’s the main route to Lira City! This road is also a major highway connecting Lango to Central, West Nile, Western and Acholi sub-regions and an international gateway linking it to three countries, namely South Sudan, DRC and Kenya,” part of his letter reads.
As a consequence of its dilapidated state, the MP-elect says trade has been hampered, ambulance services affected, transport cost hiked, vehicle maintenance impacted, road safety compromised and potential investors turned away.
“For example, it currently, painfully takes between 2 to 3 hours to travel the 75km stretch from Lira to Kamdini, while within the same time one can travel the 300km length from Kamdini to Kampala. This makes it a major setback during a medical emergency.”
Dr Opio reminded UNRA ED, Allen Kagina that a check on the UNRA website indicates that this road is part of the road rehabilitation projects funded by the World Bank and Government of Uganda in which M/S Mota Engil was awarded the contract signed on 27 June 2018. The works are indicated to have commenced on 12 December 2018. The status of the road continues to show detailed design ongoing, two years after contract signing.
“The purpose of this communication, therefore, is to bring to your urgent attention the inconveniences raised by my constituents arising from the dire state of this road and to seek a response from your office on the actual commencement date for rehabilitation works that ideally should have begun early than yesterday.”
UNRA officials could not respond to TND News request for comments.
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In October 2020, Mr Patrick Ogwang Obura, a lead petitioner in this road saga, told TND News 1 million signatures were needed.
At least 714 signatures, he said, had been collected as of Tuesday 13 October 2020 to support his petition to different government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Works and Transport and Uganda National Roads Authority was the first government agencies to receive the petition.
“As a sub-region, we need that road. As a region, that road is vital for trade and all sorts of supplies,” he said last year, adding: “Uganda loses billions of shillings in revenue. This road must be prioritised by the government.” Read more: 1 million signatures.