Some of us have severally written about our state of roads in the country. We have continued to wonder why in this 21st Century of things, Uganda leaders still don’t see the benefit of having wider roads that include dualling most of our upcountry highways?
It is just sad that we continue to have these small snake like highways with no access or escape roads. With such roads, when a vehicle gets mechanical faults, the driver simply bails out and abandons the faulty vehicle right on the side and sometimes in the middle of the road to the peril of other road users.
It is just unimaginable the number of lives that have been and continues to be lost in such tragic accidents like the one that has claimed Uganda’s businessman Aponye.
Is it not annoying to say the least that the main trade artery of Uganda, the Busia – Jinja – Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara and the Kampala – Gulu routes are highways of single lane and and single carriageway. The Madhvanis working jointly with the Milton Obote government in the 1968 with foresight, saw the need for a dual carriage and constructed the portion of Kyabazinga way along the Jinja – Iganga highway which starts at the Round about of Gadaffi Barracks all the way to Kakira Sugar Factory turn off a distance of about 8kms.
By doing this, they were trying to set a benchmark for other roads in the country. However, for years, construction and reconstruction of highways have taken place in this country with no regard to the need for expansion and dualling of the highways yet colossal amounts of money are spent in these roads only for these roads to end up being the death traps for our people.
There is no price that can be placed on any human loss, but it is so unfortunate that the country continue to lose such enterprising people like the late Apollo “Aponye” Nyegamehe.
The tragic loss of the human life is terrible to his family and business associates but the consequent loss to the economy is going to be enormous.
It is being reported that the late Aponye had and was a very enterprising person who was operating many businesses that were offering employment to many Ugandans. So his demise is definitely going to affect many families and reverberate in many aspects of the country’s economy particularly at this point in time when businesses are struggling.
We can predict exactly what our friends charged with the affairs of roads in the country will tell us in regards to the non dualling of our highways. They will for certain give the excuse of lack of sufficient funds and land as reasons for continuing to build these death trap roads. What we might not be told however is the cost benefit analysis if ever done.
It is a known fact that most of the money used to construct or reconstruct these highways are actually funds borrowed from foreign development partners who are from countries where their own roads are dual carriaged and whose benefits are undoubted.
The question then is why do we always negotiating infrastructure loans that end up giving us very inferior roads but still very expensive both in the short and long run?
Neither the loss of enterprising citizens nor the loss of valuable material assets in accidents on account of the narrow single lane so called highways can be described as being frugal!
It is high time we started to employ futurist vision in most of the investments that we undertake as a country. This is the thinking and approach that all other countries are undertaking. We can’t continue in our pre-colonial conservative thinking box.
With the increase in population going on in the country, we can’t expect that the road infrastructure that used to cater for 21 millon people 30 years ago, can possibly be the same infrastructure to cater for the projected 50 million population of Uganda in 2035!
May the deceased Aponye and many other Ugandans that have perished on Uganda roads in similar tragic circumstances Rest in Eternal Peace!