Floods in Katakwi have greatly affected the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) Exams which started a week ago.
Candidates of Magoro Comprehensive SS always start their exams more than 30 minutes late because they have to wait until the boat which delivers question papers arrives.
Of the 40 registered candidates in the school, 38 are sitting but two disappeared immediately after registration.
However, Toroma police post examination collection centre is cut off from the school.
"Since exams commenced on October 15, our biggest challenge is starting late every day. I leave my home in Magoro trading centre at around 7.00am, board a bodaboda up to the flooded bridge then jump onto a boat and sail to the other side of Toroma Sub-county," said Mathew Elungat, the head teacher of Magoro Comprehensive SS.
"I board another bodaboda to take me to Toroma police post exam collection centre."
He says sailing through Oriau Bridge along Toroma/Magoro road alone takes over 50 minutes while hiring the boat everyday is very expensive.
"I have on many occasions asked UNEB to bring the candidates to do exams in Toroma Sub-county but I was scared that my school centre number would be given to someone else if my candidates were taken to do exams elsewhere," said Elungat.
He requests that students sit for exams at Magoro police post instead of moving miles every year.
Elungat said the school faced the same problem in 2007.
This bridge flooded in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, but motorists were able to cross by then because it was not so flooded.
"My life is at risk because wind blows heavily and the boat could capsize any time," said Elungat.
Alphonse Horai Alumu, the area exam supervisor for Toroma County, said over the weekend that Elungat travels about 25 kilometers everyday to pick examination papers from Toroma police post collection centre.
Alumu noted that the Toroma/Magoro road is low and this always causes water to submerge it every year especially during time for exams.
Rev. Peter Onyanga, the chief exam monitor for Toroma County, confirmed that the question papers leave the collection centre at 8:30am but reach the school late.
"Candidates who are supposed to start doing the first morning paper at 9.00am begin 30 minutes past the hour," said Rev. Onyanga.
Rev. Onyanga added that the head teacher brings back the answered exam papers to Toroma collection centre at around 6:30pm instead of 5.00pm.
However, the deputy secretary in-charge secondary school examinations, Dan Odongo, told New Vision that that problem is not serious.
Odongo asked the head teacher of the school to write to the executive secretary UNEB so that a team is sent to assess the situation.
The flooded bridge has failed businesses, education, health and service delivery hence people complain a lot.
"Where are the leaders who said during election that they would repair the road?" Ediko Emmanuel, one of the voters in Magoro Sub-county, asked.
People travelling from Magoro to Toroma and to Soroti via Katakwi town pay sh18,000 up from sh8,000.
"I don't even have sh3,000 for myself and another sh2,000for my bicycle for to cross the bridge by boat. I am going to collect ARVs in Katakwi hospital but I have no money for crossing this bridge," said Silver Odeny, a person living positively with HIV/AIDS and a resident of Oolir village in Magoro.
"Sometimes I wade through the water with my bicycle once I notice that my condition is deteriorating when drugs are finished," .
The District chairperson Katakwi, Robert Ekongot, said they are going to be forced to allocate some funds for repairing this flooded road because they are tired of waiting for Central Government to intervene.
"We shall work on this road as soon as the water level goes down," said Ekongot.
He said the district is going to invite the minister of works as chief guest during the 50 years of independence celebrations on October 31 so that he is taken round the district to assess the condition of the roads," said Ekongot.
He reiterated that the water sector is the worst affected in the district.
Cyrus Imalingat Amodoi, the Toroma County MP, said the Toroma/Magoro road came to the attention of central Government in 2011.
Amodoi said he forwarded the issue of the road to Government and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and they said they were waiting for water to reduce.
"The Works Ministry promised me that they would begin the repair of this road by the end of September this year but when I kept going to them, they told me to wait till the water levels go down then the work would commence," said Amodoi.
Meanwhile, 30 senior four candidates have missed sitting for Uganda Certificate of education (UCE) exams in Katakwi district. Of the registered 796 candidates in the whole district, only 766 are sitting in 12 secondary schools.
Katakwi High School has the largest number of dropout candidates. Of the 112 registered candidates in Katakwi HS, 105 are sitting for exams meaning, seven dropped out of school.