The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) prides itself for expanding Uganda’s paved road network. But while UNRA’s engineers and technocrats take the credit for the many milestones, the rest of Ugandans need to feel proud of the fact that their taxes have helped build tarmac roads in different parts of the country.
The expansion of tarmac roads has however not been accompanied with the needed care for the vital infrastructure by the community around them. On many new roads around Kampala and Wakiso, for example, one can witness the fact that silt has been dumped on the roads by flood water. Take for instance the Kabuusu-Bunamwaya-Lweza road, and the Namasuba-Kikajjo road, huge mounds of dust have piled in the road after several seasons of not being cleared.
This silt and mud have not only returned dust in the same community, it damages the road, and causes accidents as motorists try to avoid it.
There is a widely held view that UNRA bars people from doing any kind of repairs on such roads. There are other roads in other parts of the country where well-intentioned persons have reportedly been prevented from making any repairs.
UNRA needs to come out very clearly on this matter and draw the guidelines on what individuals, communities and organisations can do and cannot do on what roads.
This talk about UNRA roads has killed the spirit of Bulungibwansi that was the backbone of community development back in the day. Some of it, one would suspect, may even be escapist, by the relevant local governments to avoid responsibility.
To accompany the mass public awareness on roads and user rights, UNRA should mark all roads to guild people but also to spell out what the community should do with it.