Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The long-awaited plan for the rehabilitation of the Masaka-Kyotera-Mutukula road has been deferred as the government, awaits funding from the African Development Bank. The rehabilitation project will be funded by an AfDB grant under the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF).
According to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, the feasibility study for the road construction and other details of the project were concluded in October 2020, but the work can not go on until the approval of the grant request from the African Development Bank.
The 96km-road was built in the 1960s to link and promote trade ties and cooperation between Uganda, Tanzania, and the rest of the East African partners. Kyotera County Member of Parliament John Paul Mpalanyi told URN that the current state of the road is appalling.
Mpalanyi explains that the road has deteriorated over the years and consistently affected the flow of traffic. He adds that only a section from Kyotera to Mutukula was last upgraded to class-two bitumen standard or asphalt concrete road in 2003 and that transit trucks often get stuck in potholes and often, goods perish when trucks break down and services delay.
According to Mpalanyi, the commissioning of the Mutukula one-stop customs centre in 2016 has since encouraged a surge of volumes of cargo which has occasioned its gradual deterioration.
He told URN that the accidents on the road have increased over the years with an average of five fatal accidents recorded every week. He adds that the leaders in Kyotera have waited long enough for the rehabilitation of the road.
Kakuuto LCIII Chairman Steven Ssebunya says that the stretch from Kakuuto to Mutukula is already overwhelmed by large potholes which cause accidents regularly. Motorists and truckers usually incur high repair costs due to the continuous wear and tear of their vehicles.
He further appealed to the government to do whatever it takes to patch all the potholes on the road as they wait for the AfDB grant.
Ivan Mwesigwa, a commercial motorcyclist, says that they are losing a lot of time on the road, spending more than an hour to cover a distance of 47 kilometres from Kyotera to Mutukula. He further appeals to the district leaders and government to expedite the process to rehabilitate the road.
According to Kintu Kisekulo, the Kyotera District Chairperson, transport fares have been hiked from the initial 5000 Shillings to between 7,000 and 10,000 Shillings due to the poor state of the road. Her gears that truckers may opt for a route change, a move which will also affect their revenue projections.