Uganda: Residents Improvise Risky Bridge As Govt Delays to Fix Damaged One

1 December 2019

Nearly a month since the torrential rains washed away a bridge on River Ssezibwa a major road that connects Kayunga and Mukono districts, residents through bulungi bwansi (communal work) initiative have improvised by constructing a makeshift bridge.

According to the Kasawo sub-county chairperson, Mr Badru Kafumbe, the decision to put up a temporary bridge was reached at following the 'failure' by Mukono district authorities and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to fix the bridge, despite making constant appeals to them.

He explained that the road provides a shorter route for travelers from Ntunda sub-county to Mukono town, noting that residents had to pass via Kayunga Town then to Mukono which is not only costly, but also time consuming.

"This is a major road to us and through community work, we decided to put poles across the river so that residents can be saved the burden of paying exorbitant fees to canoe operators to cross the flooded section," Mr Kafumbe said on Saturday.

Mr Kafumbe said canoe operators have been charging between Shs 2,000 for each trip and Shs 4,000 for one with a motorcycle or bicycle to cross the stretch which is just 50 metres long.

He added that Mukono District authorities informed them that although the washed away bridge is on a road under the district, they have no capacity to fix it given their meager resource envelope.

"The State Minister for works Gen. Katumba Wamala has promised that the ministry would fix the bridge, but this will happen after the heavy rains have receded," Mr Kafumbe said.

Mukono District Chairperson, Mr Andrew Ssenyonga, said that as a district, they lack funds to fix the bridge noting that because of the rains many of the roads are now impassable.

Munkoko village chairperson, Mr Mohammed Bukaaye, noted that the makeshift bridge is risky for travelers, but they had no other choice. He added that before the temporally bridge was put in place, one person died as he attempted to cross the flooded section.

UNRA Executive Director, Ms Allen Kagina, who inspected the affected areas recently assured residents that the bridge would renovated.

Uganda has two major rain seasons (March-May) and (September-December), but due to climate change, the onset of rainy seasons sometimes delays and falls unexpectedly.

Last month, the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) issued a heavy rainfall warning alert over most parts of Uganda. According to UNMA statement, rains are expected to bring about flooding especially in the urban areas and low lying areas, mudslides in the mountainous areas and lightning strikes coupled with strong winds.

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