By Solomon Hamala
Residents of Kaliro have expressed concern over the delay by UNRA to renovate the main bridge that connects the district to Serere and Pallisa.
The bridge is situated on River Saaka in Namwiwa Sub County, Kaliro district.
Speaking to this reporter on Saturday, 13th March 2021, residents said delay by government to renovate the road has claimed many lives in the past few years.
Muzafaru Kazungu, one of the residents said majority of motorists plunge into the river especially during late night hours losing their lives because there is no sign post indicating that the bridge has been damaged.
Eight people have since the beginning of this year alone drowned into the river after vehicles they were moving in plunged into the river.
Early last year, five people who included a newlywed couple drowned into the river after their saloon vehicle was swept away by the fast moving waters of river Saaka.
The driver of the saloon vehicle who was moving towards Pallisa district during a heavy rain downpour plunged into the river unaware that the bridge had been damaged.
The area councilor Saaka village, Peter Isooba urged government to put up road signs or block the road from motorists in a bid to reduce on the rampant fatal accidents along the road.
“Innocent people are losing their lives just because the relevant authorities have not put up road signs along the road indicating that the bridge has been damaged,” he said.
Leaders silent over the matter
Joseph Osiro, a local fisherman accused leaders in the area of failing to address the problem of the damaged bridge to relevant authorities.
Osiro said the situation is likely to get worse especially as the rain season sets in.
“It’s always worse when it comes to the rainy season because most people crossing over to the neighboring districts over the river end up drowning,” he said.
Travelers who want to cross to either side of river Saaka have to part with shillings 5000 for transport using small boats.
The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Kaliro, Billy Mulindwa said they have on several occasions informed the relevant Uganda National Roads Authority about the urgency of the matter but nothing seems to be done.
The Member of Parliament elect Bulamogi constituency, Sanon Bwire promised to present the matter before parliament immediately after assuming office.
Bwire said the number of people losing lives as a result of drowning could even get higher especially as the rain season comes closer.
“People are likely to be swept away while moving on the small boats across the river,” he said.
The State Minister for Trade, Fred Gume who is also the Member of Parliament Bulamogi North, said the bidding process by government could be delaying award of the tender to the contractor.
“We as Members of Parliament from the area presented the matter to the relevant authorities some time back,” he said.