By Beatrice Leni
If Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) does not resume works on the Nakalama-Mbale-Tirinyi road by Monday next week, prescription it should brace itself for a nude spectacle.
Members of Parliament hailing from Eastern Uganda put UNRA and the Ministry of Works and Transport on notice today, salve warning that failure to resume rehabilitation works on the road will attract protests from residents.
The legislators made the warning during a press conference they convened today at Parliament to express their disappointment at the government over delays to finalise works on the road.
The Nakalama-Mbale-Tirinyi road has continued to deteriorate after repair works were suspended for the last three months.
John Baptist Nambeshe, Manjiya County MP, warned that the legislators will mobilise all citizens living in the affected area to strip naked if push comes to shove.
“The cost of doing business on that road is very high. We are making a clarion call to those responsible to expeditiously fix that road or else the people will demonstrate in a much worse manner than the women of Amuru,” Nambeshe warned.
Mid this month, several women, young and elderly, staged a naked protest before Lands minister Betty Amongi as they joined a demonstration over the troubled Madhvani Amuru Sugar Works project.
The government is pushing locals in Amuru to hand over 10,000 hectares of their land to Madhvani for sugar cane growing, an action opposed by opinion and political leaders over the unfair manner with which locals are being treated.
Undressing by womenfolk in Acholi culture occurs as a form of expressing great sadness or displeasure over an issue. Some consider it be a curse upon the object of such a protest.
Nambeshe was supported by severalcolleagues including Kumi municipality MP, Silas Aogon; Namutumba Woman MP Mariam Naigaga; Busiki MP Paul Akamba; Ntenjeru South MP Fred Baseke; Budiope East MP Geoffrey Dhamuzungu; Ngora MP David Abala; Budaka Woman MP Pamela Kamugo and Bugabula South MP Henry Kibalya, among others.
Aogon accused the Ministry of Works and UNRA of complacency in not getting another contractor to complete the works, warning that more accidents will occur on the road.
“We need something to be done by Monday…if we need to go to Tirinyi, we shall camp there. The road must be fixed,” Aogon said.
The meeting turned dramatic when Kamugo broke down in tears, wondering why UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina has ignored the legislators’ pleas to work on the road.
She bemoaned the increasing incidence of accidents on the road which has killed their constituents.
Yesterday, UNRA officials explained that the previous contract of the road works was terminated due to shoddy work. They said a new contractor will start works next month.
UNRA banned Dott Services Limited early this year from continuing with works on the road, citing shoddy work.
Subsequently, President Yoweri Museveni directed that the company is banned from getting more government contracts although he later changed his position on the matter.