The fallen Toroma County MP, Cyrus Amodoi's casket. Photo/File
During MPs debate of President Yoweri Museveni’s State of the Nation Address last year, fallen Toroma County MP, Cyrus Amodoi decried the carnage on Uganda’s roads, blaming accidents on narrow highways.
Hardly a year later, was Amodoi among 11 victims of a gruesome road accident at Kitigoma near Njeru on the Jinja-Kampala highway.
Eyewitnesses said the Tuesday night accident happened when a truck headed for Kampala from Jinja lost control and rammed into two commuter taxis.
One of the taxis was travelling from Busia to Kampala while the other was reportedly moving in the opposite direction.
In their tribute to the fallen lawmaker who was described variously as “humble, patriotic and selfless,” lawmakers across the political divide faulted government for the incessant road accidents which they claimed can be mitigated if better wider roads are built.
MPs Roland Mugume, Muwanga Kivumbi, Hellen Asamo, Andrew Baryayanga and Odonga Otto said there would be no better tribute to the retired soldier-turned politician than to improve the state of roads in the country with a view of reducing road accidents.
“Amodoi repeatedly raised the state of poor roads in our country, especially our narrow highways. The poor roads have claimed his life. There would be no better tribute to Amodoi than improving the state of roads,” former deputy Opposition Chief Whip, Mugume said in his support to a motion for parliament to pay tribute to Amodoi.
The motion for parliament to pay tribute to Amodoi was moved by Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda who described Amodoi as “a dedicated legislator who served Uganda with humility.”
Amodoi died while travelling in a taxi, an issue that has seen a section of the media make aspersions about him.
However, to Muwanga Kivumbi, Amodoi travelling in a taxi because he had surrendered his car to women groups in his constituency to help coordinate celebrations marking International Women’s Day is a testament of the sacrifices lawmakers make that quite often go unnoticed.
“Like all MPs in this House, Amodoi grappled with the question of how to be an MP in Uganda today. That is he surrendered his car. Where service delivery fails, the MP is the point of reference to fill the gap. This is a strain on MPs,” Kivumbi said.
The issue of operation of taxis also took center stage with MPs demanding that government streamlines the operations of taxis and heavy trucks in the country to reduce accidents.
“We should have taxi operations streamlined so that we can know which taxi, is destined for which route. This business of taxis parking or moving anyhow should stop,” Kilak County MP, Ongalo Obote, said.
The legislators also proposed that ministry of works , comes up with improved road designs, to rid Ugandans of what they called narrow roads which are the major causes of accidents especially on highways.
They also appealed to the Police, to roll out its Fika Salama operation, currently being used on Kampala –Masaka highway, to deal with drunk drivers, DMCs as means of curbing accidents in the country.
“This operation has been successful on Masaka road, we should also extend it to Jinja road, many of these drivers sleep off while on the road,” Jacklet Atuhaire, the woman MP Sheema district said.
Kawempe South MP, Latif Ssebagala has agreed to offer free education to one of the 20 children the fallen legislator has been supporting .
Born in 1979, Amodoi, alumni of Makerere University (B.A Education) had a stint as a teacher, before joining the Presidential Guard Brigade – the elite force that offers security to the president.
This was his second term as a lawmaker representing Toroma, having been first elected in 2011.