Budaka Woman Member of Parliament Pamela Kamugo Nasiyo and three other MPs have been arrested for inciting residents to carry out demonstration over the poor state of Mbale-Tirinyi-Kampala high way, which has turned into a death trap.
PIC: A gaping hole along Mbale-Tirinyi-Kampala highway. The MPs and residents demonstrated on Monday over the poor state of the road. (Photo by Paul Watala)
Budaka Woman Member of Parliament Pamela Kamugo Nasiyo and three other MPs have been arrested for inciting residents to carry out a demonstration over the poor state of Mbale-Tirinyi-Kampala high way, which has turned into a death trap.
Other MPs who were arrested include: John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya Constituency), Silas Aogon (Kumi municipality) and David Abala (Ngora county).
The MPs, led by Pamela Kamugo (Budaka) joined hundreds of residents doing business along Mbale-Tirinyi-Kampala highway in a demonstration to express their concern over the poor state of the road.
They started the demonstration at 10:00am at the bridge that separates Naboa and Kakoli trading centres and were later joined by angry residents, who were waiting for them at Kakoli trading centre under the watchful eye of heavily-armed anti-riot Police.
The MPs first beat the tightly guarded anti-riot Police armed with teargas canisters and AK47 riffles that had laid roadblock to fail the MPs’ demonstration.
The demonstrators did not use their officials cars. They drove in private cars from Mbale and passed the roadblock that had been staged at Kakoli trading centre, leaving the Police officers stranded until they were tipped off by residents who saw the MPs walking on foot.
The move angered the Police officers under the command of Bukedi region zonal commandant, Fred Ahimbisibwe, who bounced into action, leading to the arrest of the MPs.
Kamugo, who was in company of her husband was forced to entered a double cabin vehicle belonging to Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), while the rest of the MPs were forced into a traffic patrol car. The visibly angry residents demanded the Police to release the legislators unconditionally, before they paved way for other road users.
The Police succumbed to pressure and released Kamugo and others, who addressed the angry residents before boarding their official cars to vacate the scene.
However, the Police kept following the MPs for over five kilometres to Mbale town for fear of remobilizing another demonstration.
Kamugo and other MPs called off the demonstration after receiving a notification letter from UNRA, assuring them and the residents that a new contractor had been identified and that in two weeks, a new contract would be signed.
“We have received a letter from UNRA indicating that a new contractor has been identified. On behalf of my colleagues and on my own behalf, we call off the demonstration,” Kamugo said.
“We can no longer witness our people die because of negligence from the Government that awards incompetent companies to handle such big contracts even after seeing the DOTT services had failed to do good work on Tororo, Mbale-Soroti highway,” Kamugo added.
She vowed to call for future demonstrations incase the agreed time of the contractor to do the job is not respected, adding that her voters had failed to do business while others were falling sick all the time because of the clouds of dust that that goes on the food along the road.
Nambeshe vowed to always join in the demonstration as long as the Government fails to honour the agreement, adding that his people who do business along Mbale-Kampala were losing merchandise and money to thieves, who were trapping them on dangerous spots.“We have people who have been shot dead and their property stolen at bad road spot. The DOTT services dag deep ditches, but they have no signs and motorists end up crashing and killing people,” Nambeshe said.
Aogon said the Government only understands the language of demonstration and that is why they took to the road to express their dissatisfaction.
“Why should the Government continue protecting DOTT services, despite the fact that they have failed to do a commendable job in this country. We are sounding a warning to the Government not to award another contract to DOTT services in the eastern region,” Aogon said.
The letter received from UNRA dated September 2, 2017 read that the rehabilitation contract of Nakalama-Tirinyi road by Dott services was terminated by UNRA in May this year, because of the contractor had failed to comply with the contractual obligations and was unwilling to be supervised by the UNRA team.
The letter signed by Edna Rugumayo, the acting executive director of UNRA also read that at the time of the termination only 19>09% against the planned 94.46% and after the lapsing of 707 days of the total 762 days of the contract period, had been done.
The letter partly also revealed that the process is now in advanced stages and that UNRA expects to have a contract signed by the end of September this year and the contractor on site by the end of October.
“We advise that there is no need for this demonstration as the procurement of a new contractor to continue with the rehabilitation of the road is in very advanced stage,” the letter read in part.
“We shall continue pouring water on those very dusty sections of the road, more so in the trading centres, to avoid our people suffering from diseases because of dust,” the letter further read.
However, Ahimbisibwe did not comment on the matter shortly after silencing the demonstration.