24 March 2009

Uganda: Engineer, Contractor Held Over Nakivubo Trench

Kampala — AN engineer and private contractor were on Monday arrested for digging a trench in the Nakivubo Market Place Road, which the Police said had caused jam in the area.

Eng. Andrew Mansoni of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation and Festa Asiimwe, a private constructor, were picked from the site on the orders of Geoffrey Aropet, the acting commissioner of Police in-charge of traffic and Reuben Mbamanya, the Kampala regional traffic officer.

The men had dug a sewage trench across the road opposite Shoprite Supermarket.

Mbamanya said the engineer ignored Police instructions not to dig the trench. This, he said, had disrupted traffic and caused jam on Entebbe Road, Ben Kiwanuka Street and Nakivubo Market Place roads.

The jam stretched up to Kajjansi, about 15km from the city, paralysing work, Mbamanya said.

He explained that the men had sought permission from the Police and were advised to carry out the works on Sunday, a less busy day.

Stephen Odongkara, the traffic Police chief at Kampala Central Police Station, said: "We agreed that they would work only up to Sunday night but they abandoned the work in the evening and by 10:00am on Monday, they were still working.

They had no material on site, yet they had blocked the road." He said it was common for engineers to dig trenches across city roads and abandon the site.

This, he explained, causes accidents and inconveniences road users.

Traffic policemen were on Sunday stationed in area to divert traffic to enable the engineer to work fast, he said.

The Police allowed vehicles to use pavements and opened a one-way route on Ben Kiwanuka Street in order to reduce the jam.

The two men recorded statements at the Kampala Central Police Station.

Odongkara said they would be charged with obstruction of the road.

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