GULU – A group of angry locals on Monday, August 12, stormed Gulu Municipal offices held the new Town Clerk, Mr Edward Gwavu Kiwanuka to answer queries why the road has not yet been tarmacked.
The locals who were mostly residents of Kanyagoga A in Bar Dege division led the division’s Chairperson, Patrick Oola Lumumba.
They accused the office of the town clerk over imbalance allocation of USMID fund for the roads which they claimed has led to poor road statuses in Bar Dege division compared to developed roads in other divisions like Pece, Laroo and Layibi.
Vincent Opiyo-Oola Lubara is about 6km and is connecting road St Mary’s Hospital Lacor and Gulu town. It also connect resident of Bar Dege precisely areas of Kanygoga, settlers around St Jude Orphanage and Negri village to main Gulu town center. But locals are demanding that municipal authority should first construct about 2km connecting Kaunda grounds and St Jude trading center which has become impaasible for several months.
As they crowded in front of the Municipal administration premises, some of the rioters carrying tree branches, sticks beating the offices’ entrance steps claimed the statuses of Vincent Opiyo-Oola Lubaro roads measuring 2.6km is in dire condition and has affected both of their social and economic patterns of lives.
“Expectant mothers don’t have safe access to hospital, our children cannot access schools in town, and husbands are losing their manhood and sexual stamina after they ride on the road and all this problem is brought about by the bad condition” one of the female rioter uttered.
Before storming the Municipal offices, the first planted trees and crops on the road. The rioters also fell down big trees on the road to block it for being use and threaten to maintain the road block until the stakeholders intervene.
“We want tarmac road and if the processes are delaying, we want to see some road maintenance so that we can continue using the road as we wait for tarmac, and if not then the road shall not be opened because it is too bad” Saverio Opiyo Abak, a boda boda in Bar Dege said.
Another protestor Mr. Komakech Charles Godon, resident of Ogwal wor Village in Kanyagoga A said they have been demanding that the road be worked on since 2001 but leaders and technical people keep on pushing their demand and instead worked in other divisions which do not have very bad roads like those in Bar Dege.
According to the division chairman, Mr. Oola Lumumba Bar Dege division accused the Municipal council for always neglecting Bar Dege division by allocating more fund for roads in other divisions instead of equitable distribution opf resources.
He noted that under USMID phase I Bar Dege only benefited on one road out of 33 roads, and JICA road Municipal constructed 21 roads but Bar Dege again will benefit in one road which is a bad indicators of development.
However Mr Terence Odonga Municipal Engineer stated that the highly contested road Vincent Opiyo-Oola Lubaro road has been approved in the last financial year to be work on in financial year 2019/2020 but the municipal is undergoing procedures to procure constructors.
According to the engineer a total of 6 roads measuring up to 10.6km shall be work on at a cost of 31.2 billion Uganda shilling in the financial year 2019/2020. Gulu Municipality received up to 89.7 billion Uganda for constructing 23.18km roads under USMID phase II road construction.
To calm down the storm, Leader of Opposition and Gulu Woman MP Betty Aol Ocan who made a sudden stop at the protest, in a solidarity move, marched with the rioters on foot up about 2 kilometers visit the road and appeal for calm as the stakeholders take responsibility.
Meanwhile, the new Town clerk Mr Gwavu who has been in office barely two week appointed to meet the protestors and residents of Kanyagoga A to have stakeholders explain the development and steps being taken to construct the contested road. The meeting shall be on Tuesday 13th in Kanyagoga A.