Kabale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ryakarimira town council authorities in Kabale district have bowed to pressure from residents and started grading roads. Residents have been up in arms against the town council authorities led by the LC III Chairperson, Enock Kazooba and Town Clerk, Alex Ampeire over failure to account for Shillings 73,470,000 million meant for opening three roads.
Residents argue that in the 2016/2017 financial year, the town council released Shillings 39.2M for upgrading the three kilometer Ryakarimira-Kibuga road stretch in Rukore ward to improve the transport network. They also note that in the 2017/2018 financial year, the council approved Shillings 20.7 million towards the rehabilitation of Katware-Muhenvu-Kacerere road.
Council also approved another Shillings 13.5 million for rehabilitating Nyamiyaga-Kagyera-Kigarama road in the 2018/2019 financial year. Last week, residents told URN that despite the allocation of the monies, nothing had been done to rehabilitate the said roads.
They petitioned the Kabale chief Administrative Officer, State House Anti-Corruption Unit and Inspectorate of Government to intervene and compel town council authorities reveal the whereabouts of the money allocated for the road works since it wasn’t put to use.
The Town council authorities gave contradicting statements in an attempt to explain the whereabouts of the funds. The LC III Chairperson, Enock Kazooba said although the roads appeared in their five year development work plan, the money was never revealed.
He was contradicted by the Town Clerk, Alex Ampeire who was said the money was channeled to fund other priority projects, which enraged residents further. However, on Wednesday, the town council authorities led by Ampeire started opening roads.
A junior worker told URN on condition of anonymity that Kazooba and Ampeire panicked and rushed to start works on the roads after being exposed in the media. The officials reportedly learnt of a plan by Kabale District Works Committee to make an impromptu visit in the town council to investigate the complaints raised by residents.
Our reporter visited Ryakarimira town council on Wednesday evening and found an Excavator registration number UG1775W opening the four kilometer Katware-Muhenvu-Kacerere road stretch.
Edison Rwenduru, a resident of Muhenvu parish says the opening of the roads following the media exposure is an indication of corruption and greed by town council authorities. He says the LC III Chairperson and town clerk reached an extent of lying that the money was fully spent on the roads, which was false.
Adam John Muhwezi and Darias Niwagaba, both residents of the area, say the silence of town council authorities about the road works was a deliberate denial of services to citizens.
Muhwezi and Niwagaba, says the absence of roads in the town council had hindered transport.
Jackson Mpiriire, the representative of the elders in Ryakarimira town council hailed the media for exposing the rot in the town council, which has hindered development for many years.
Mpirirwe says that had it not been for the intervention of the Media, Kazooba and Ampeire were not bothered by the pleas from the residents and would end up swindling the money for the road works. He wants the town council authorities investigated for the delayed road works.
Ryakarimira town Clerk, Alex Ampeire who our reporter found supervising the works declined to comment and took off. The LC III Chairperson, Enock Kazooba attributed the delayed road works on absence of equipment.
He explained that they had hired the equipment they were using from Mbarara district. It is unclear why the town council didn’t think about this option until residents complained to the media.