WHEN 64 people died on the spot two years ago, they treated it like a grisly accident. But when another 30 perished on the same highway, Tuesday morning, speculation about an invisible hand is rife among the locals.
and Paul Kiwuuwa
WHEN 64 people died on the spot two years ago, they treated it like a grisly accident. But when another 30 perished on the same highway, Tuesday morning, speculation about an invisible hand is rife among the locals. The entire village is engulfed in fear as myths have started to emerge following yet another deadly accident in the area.
This follows the death of 30 passengers when a bus collided with a Fuso truck at Nyakarindi on the Kabale-Katuna road at 10:30am on Tuesday. The accident, about 18km outside Kabale town, is the second in two years on the same highway.
In 2003, at a place called Kyonyo, three kilometres from Tuesdayâ€™s accident, a Jaguar Bus collided with a trailer, killing 64 passengers on the spot.
This spot is one of the many notorious â€˜black spotsâ€™ on our roads. Many of the spots have myths about them, but human error also plays a big part in these accidents.
Located on Kampala-Jinja highway, Kitega is an accident-prone spot. Seventy-eight-year-old Simon Kaggwa has lived in Kitega, Lugazi all his life. Kaggwa has witnessed horrible accidents and hallucinations and frequent nightmares characterise his life.
â€œThe last time I tried to rescue a victim, he died in my hands. Every moment I hear a screeching noise and a bang followed by screams, I break down. I have witnessed several accidents on this spot. The victims rarely survive,â€ a visibly disturbed Kaggwa lamented.
Kaggwaâ€™s experience is not unique to him. Several other people living near black spots share the experience.
Eighty five scenes have been identified as notorious black spots on our roads in a 36-page driverâ€™s guide commissioned by Shell Uganda in conjunction with the Police.
â€œMotorists are warned to take precautions when driving. The guide identifies hazards and gives defensive action to the drivers. But it should be updated regularly, because some accident spots may not have been included,â€ says John Ndyomugyenyi, National Chairman Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA).
A 2004 report on road accident trends and their effect on the economy and livelihood of the people, put Ugandaâ€™s fatality rate at 122 deaths per 100,000 persons â€” one of the highest in the world.
In 2003, the estimated cost of accident fatalities and vehicle damage amounted to approximately sh300b. This resulted from 11,486 road accidents due to over-speeding and reckless driving.
â€œHuman error has been cited as the major cause of accidents. It (the driversâ€™ guide) is good to all road users and I warn every road user to be cautious of the black spots,â€ the regional traffic officer Kampala extra, Gabriel Tibayungwa said.
Kampala-Masaka road has the highest number of black spots at Kyengera, Nabbingo, Nsimbe, Mpigi, Kammengo, Katonga Bridge, Lweera, Kadduggala and the section from Nyendo up to Masaka town.
The dangerous spots on Mityana-Mubende road are at Busega round about, Bulenga, Bbira Mayanja, Nswanjere, Tanda, Mityana town and Myanzi.
On Kampala-Gulu road, the spots are Bwaise, Bombo, Wobulenzi, Nakasongola, Kafu, Karuma, Kamudini corner and Bobi town.
Mbarara-Kabale road has sharp bends at Nakaguruka and Nyamitanga, with a narrow bridge and pedestrians crossing. Itojo and Ntungamo towns are busy with heavily loaded trucks parked at the side of the road.
Kampala-Jinja road has slippery surfaces and trucks heavily loaded with sugarcane, at Mbalala, and Namagunga. Mabila forest has sharp bends with tree branches reaching into the road and the narrow bridge at Owen Falls Dam.
Iganga-Busia road has a steep slope at Iganga hospital, with a dangerous junction at Tirinnyi.
On Masaka-Mbarara road, there are high humps at Nkoni, Kyazanga and Lyantonde towns, while at Lake Mburo National Park, cattle and wild animals often cross the road.
There is a narrow bridge on Mbale-Soroti road, at Nakaloke, with a sharp bend at Bukedea.
Kumi town is busy with cattle crossing the road and a railway line crosses the main road. There are two sharp bends at Awoja with a narrow bridge that has a rough surface.
On Moroto-Kidepo road at Lopei Bridge, when it rains, the road is impassable, as the road is flooded. At Kotido-Kaabong, the area is dangerous with many armed Karimojong warriors.
Buses and taxis are not supposed to go faster than 80km/h, and the small cars, 100km/h on the highways and 50km/h when they approach trading centres and towns. Vehicle ownership rose from 74,047 in 1994 to over 290,279 by mid 2004.
The black spots on our roads