THE First Lady and Karamoja affairs state minister, Janet Museveni, has criticised the spending of sh5b on the construction of two valley dams in Kotido and Abim districts.
During a recent inspection of the dams, Mrs. Museveni was informed that the Government spent sh3.2b on Kailong dam in Kotido sub-county and another sh2.4b on Kawomeri dam in Abim district.
According to a press release from her office, Mrs. Museveni noted that the workmanship and materials used to construct the dams were poor, adding that Kailong dam had already collapsed and needed a new embankment.
â€œI cannot understand what all that money was used for because the water was not drilled; it is rain water. The stones are just pilled on the soil collected from within the district. This is unbelievable! Was this money used to only raise the embankment?â€ she asked.
Mrs. Museveni was informed that Kailong dam was first constructed in 1992 by Terrafirma, a South African firm. The dam collapsed in 1998 and was re-constructed by Sobetra in 2005. Since then, it has never been handed over to the Government.
The Kotido district engineer, George Okore, said the collapse of the dam was due to the poor design by the water ministry, which did not consider the nature of the soil.
â€œMaterials used for the dam included soil from the site. The wall had no foundation which caused it to collapse,â€ he explained.
The Abim district chairman, Jim Bricky Ochero, said the residents, who supplied stones for the construction of Kawomeri dam, had not been paid.
In Kaabong, Mrs. Museveni expressed concern over the sorry state of the sh960m Longoritopoj valley dam in Sidoc sub-county.
The dam, constructed in 1997 and redone in 2001, was washed away by floods, leaving behind a windmill standing in the bush.
She attributed the poor workmanship of many of government programmes to lack of technical supervision and the negligence of local leaders, adding that communities need to participate in project monitoring.
â€œHow could you allow people to take free public funds without you saying or doing anything about it?â€ the First Lady asked the local leaders.
In Amdat, the First Lady visited Motpodereva valley dam where she observed that poor planning and use of poor construction materials has led to its silting.
â€œThere should be standards for firms working in the Karamoja region and they should work with the concerned ministries,â€ she said.
Mrs. Museveni lamented that the Government continuously sends large sums of money to local governments for water development in the region but it has not been reflected on the ground.
She was, however, happy to learn that the sh25m Kadugudug man-made well, constructed in 2006 by Oxfarm, is in good condition. The well serves about 300 households in Kaabong sub-county.
Inflated Karamoja valley dams cost queried