19 May 2019

Uganda: Residents Petition Minister Over Shoddy Roadworks

Lyantonde — Residents of three villages in Kyewanula Parish, Lyantonde Sub-county in Lyantonde District, have petitioned the State minister for Works, Gen Katumba Wamala, to prevail over a contractor who they accuse of doing shoddy work.

In a petition dated May 7, signed by Mr Abdul Nyanzi, the Kamengo Village chairperson, they state that although roadworks on the 9.5km Kempega-Kiwootoozi-Buyanja road were completed early this month, gapping potholes have started to emerge.

The project was awarded to Bresum Enterprises Ltd at a cost of Shs325m.

The residents also claim the contractor used poor quality murrum and culverts and whenever it rains, water floods their houses.

The road passes through the villages of Kiwootoozi, Mpumudde, Kamengo, Kempega, Kasese, Kabayanda, Kyewanula and Buyanja.

"Our houses get flooded whenever it rains because the culverts used do not allow easy water flow. In some sections of the road, water remain stagnant in the middle of the road," Mr Nyanzi said in an interview with this newspaper on Thursday.

No value for money

Mr Fred Muhangi, the Lyantonde District chairperson, told this newspaper that construction works were poorly done yet a lot of money was injected into the project.

"As a district, we had allocated Shs40 million to work on the same road and our work would even be better than what they did, but the Ministry of Works decided to source a contractor to do the work," he said.

But Mr James Kakooza, the Kabula County MP, while appearing on a local radio station last weekend, asked residents to accept what has been done by the contractor, saying "no one knows where the money for road was got from."

When contacted on the matter, Ms Susan Kataike, the Ministry of Works and Transport spokesperson, said she could not authoritatively comment on the matter, asking for more time to consult her superiors.

But Gen Wamala said when the ministry allocates funds for roadworks in districts, it is the local leadership to supervise and raise the red flag in case of shoddy work.

"Where were they [district] as the direct beneficiaries when the contractor was doing shoddy work? I will charge the local leaders on ground who failed to carry out supervision," he said by telephone on Thursday.

Ms Rhodah Tiitwe Kagaaga, the Lyantonde deputy Resident District Commissioner, said since the contract funds are wired to the district bank account, she was going to ask the chief administrative officer (CAO) to halt any payments to the contractor.

"The CAO should not process any payment to the contractor until the road works are accomplished," Ms Kagaaga said.

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