Uganda: DRC Delaying Works On Nteko-Buhoma Road, Says Ministry

The Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Katumba Wamala, has attributed the delays to construct the Nteko-Buhoma road that will connect Kisoro and Kanungu districts through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to bureaucracy by DR Congo.

Part of the road will be constructed on the border of the two countries.

"We have all the funds required to construct this road but our counterparts in the DR Congo are not available to participate in the smooth implementation of this project. [We have] to avoid encroaching on the international boundary, [so we need their input]," Gen Katumba told a project stakeholders' meeting in Kisoro District last Friday.

The Kanungu Resident District Commissioner, Mr Shafique Ssekandi, said he has been engaging authorities in North Kivu Province in Congo over the matter.

"I have engaged the authorities in North Kivu Province over the matter during our joint cross-border meetings and they welcomed the idea but insisted that there is need for the government of Uganda to contact the authorities in Kinshasa to permit them," Mr Ssekandi said.

"All we need is the Ugandan ministry of Works through the ministry of Foreign Affairs to officially communicate to their counterparts in DR Congo before the authorities in the North Kivu Province can participate in this exercise," he added.

President Museveni pledged to construct the road during the 2016 presidential campaigns after residents requested for it as a short cut to the two districts.

Mr Nelson Guma, the conservation manager of Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks, called for a comprehensive environmental impact assessment before the construction to ensure safety of the mountain gorillas.

The meeting resolved that Mr Ssekandi provides the contacts of North Kivu leaders to the Ugandan ministry of works officials to communicate to their counterparts in Kinshasa so that they can be part of the next stakeholders' meeting.

Efforts to reach the RDC for the contacts were futile as he did not pick our repeated calls by press time.

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