By Taddeo Bwambale
Laws governing roads in Uganda are weak and obsolete, making it difficult to prevent encroachment on gazetted road reserves, a new study has revealed.
The study shows that most Ugandans consider the fines stipulated in the existing road laws to be too weak to ensure compliance.
Uganda has two laws governing roads, namely: the Roads Act, 1949 which provides for the creation of road reserves and their maintenance, and the Access to Roads Act, 1969 which provides for access to a public highway.
A report released by the Uganda Road Sector Support Initiative (URSSI), a transport advocacy organization, shows that both laws cannot enforce proper road usage.
For instance, under the Roads Act, a person who interferes with a road reserve is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding sh1,000.
Presenting the findings at Sheraton Kampala Hotel on Tuesday, the URSSI executive director, Stewart Mutabazi said most Ugandans considered the penalties too weak to enforce compliance.
"The laws are obsolete and the fines provided for are meaningless. The fine of sh1,000 needs to be reviewed," Mutabazi said.
The Government is in the process of amending both laws to address the rampant encroachment and abuse of road facilities.
The study was carried out in the five regions of Uganda, seeking views of Ugandans on possible areas for amendment to the two laws.
According to the study, most districts lack surveyors, planners and valuers to guide the creation of roads and compensation of effected communities.
Districts also want contractors to guarantee the life span of the roads they build, and Government to standardize the rates for road construction.
The report recommends the extension of the road width from the recommended 15 metres to at least 40 metres, to allow for easy maneuver in case of accidents.
The design of most roads in Uganda is also blamed for high rate of road accidents. Uganda has the second highest rate of road accidents in Africa and the world after Ethiopia.
Uganda''s road laws outdated