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Districts struggle to maintain vehicle fleet

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th December 2007 03:00 AM

BUSIA District needs sh100m to repair its vehicles. Busia is not the only district suffering lack of vehicles. Many districts do not have enough vehicles and lack funds to maintain existing ones. According to regulations, the district has to provide transport for the chairman, which is not always po

BUSIA District needs sh100m to repair its vehicles. Busia is not the only district suffering lack of vehicles. Many districts do not have enough vehicles and lack funds to maintain existing ones. According to regulations, the district has to provide transport for the chairman, which is not always po

By Joshua Kato

BUSIA District needs sh100m to repair its vehicles. Busia is not the only district suffering lack of vehicles. Many districts do not have enough vehicles and lack funds to maintain existing ones. According to regulations, the district has to provide transport for the chairman, which is not always possible due to inadequate resources.

“The chairperson of kaberamaido district has no vehicle. I’m at the mercy of other departments,” says Robert Engulu.

Arua’s LC5 chairman uses a ramshackle vehicle that spends more time in the garage than on the road.
Many chairmen in rich districts like Mukono, Wakiso, Entebbe municipality and Kampala have land-cruisers. Those in poor districts drive double cabin pick-ups, which are usually borrowed from other departments.

In some cases, however, some chairmen refuse to use their predecessor’s cars claiming they can be bewitched!
Other district chairmen take over the vehicles without any complaints. For example, Jinja town mayor Beswale Kezaala, has been using his predecessor’s car.
Some chairmen use their personal vehicles. “I am using my own car because I found my predecessor’s car in a very bad state,” says Makindye Division chairman Moses Kalungi.

According to the chairmen, lack of funds and Government policy that stipulates they have to buy new vehicles contributes to their failure to acquire vehicles.
“Most districts are poor, yet, a new vehicle costs sh80m. I call upon the Government to loosen this regulation to allow district acquire reconditioned vehicles,” Engulu says.

In Mukono district, Francis Lukooya is the first chairman to drive a new vehicle. Previous chairmen used old vehicles or their own cars. The district, using a loan acquired three new vehicles that included the chairman’s Toyota Prado and two Toyota Hilux pick-ups in August.
In Namutumba, the chairman’s car, a jeep cherokee cost sh80m. In Nakaseke, over sh230m was spent on three vehicles, including one for the chairman.

Chairmen may, however, wait not much longer, before they get vehicles. According to Vincent Ssemakula of the Uganda Local Governments Association, modalities are being made under which district chairmen who have no vehicles to get them.

Other vehicles

The speaker, CAO and other departments must also have vehicles. In most districts, however, these officials do not have vehicles.
A district should have at least 40 vehicles, but none of the districts has that number. Rich districts like Wakiso have about 20 vehicles, while others in the middle tier, like Arua have at least 15. New districts like Amolatar, Abim, Amuru, Oyam, Lyantonde and Nakaseke have less than five vehicles.

Every district should also have a road unit, but many do not have it. The unit includes two dumper trucks, a roller, two tractors and a pick-up service truck.
“Whenever we want to do something on our roads, we request for vehicles from Lira,” says Amolatar CAO.

The inadequacy of vehicles is aggravated by misuse of the existing ones. For example, ambulances are used to transport district officials instead of patients.

In many districts, drivers connive with garage owners to sell car parts. Yet, “It is not easy to get spare parts. Even a part costing less than sh1m has to be procured through the district contracts committee. This takes a long time.” a driver says.

Districts struggle to maintain vehicle fleet

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