When Ibanda was granted a municipality status in 2016, residents welcomed the development, expecting improved and better services.
However, over three years down the road, much of the anticipated benefits like infrastructure development remain a pipe dream, with the state of roads going from bad to worse.
This has led to protests by sections of the business community with boda boda riders demonstrating about the numerous potholes on some sections of municipal roads. In the Central Business District, Jubilee and Mpiira streets are characterised by potholes, which has left pedestrians and motorists fighting for space.
One of the areas where residents are currently expressing deep dissatisfaction is the state of roads with in the town of Ibanda municipality.
One of the roads in Ibanda town with open potholes
The most wanting roads include those on Bufunda Street, Jubilee road, Kagongo road and Mpiira street, where the tarmac has developed several potholes. These roads were constructed in 2009 but they have since got dilapidated with potholes. The potholes were last year patched up with murrum and left to deteriorate again sparking off anger from the road users.
The effect of bad roads
Moses Kiviri, the LCI chairperson for Mpiira cell, says that the state of the roads is disturbing, adding that the municipal authorities have been promising to take action but in vain.
A dilapitated road in Ibanda municipality
According to Kiviri, as if the menace of the potholes is not enough, a big part of the road has poor drainage channels to enable easy flow of water.
He further noted that most of the roads had potholes, others had no culverts while others had stagnant water in the middle of the roads. He says the situation has been worsened by the current rainy season.
"I call upon the municipality leadership to take immediate action otherwise people will lose patience and hold peaceful demonstrations because the situation is alarming," says Kiviri.
Daniel Tumukunde, a boda boda cyclist at Jubilee stage, says that the roads in the municipality have deteriorated and the tarmac has completely peeled off. He says that it is unfortunate that the authorities cannot even afford to patch up the road with murrum anymore.
"Potholes are seen in almost all the roads and they have turned into death-traps," Tumukunde says. He says the recently rehabilitated had poor drainage channels to enable easy flow of water.
Abel Muhumuza, a resident of Kyaruhanga Ward, says he has resolved not to use the road because of the danger it poses to his health.
"The poor road network in the municipality speaks volumes about our real situation.
Due to the potholes, we are simply not able to use them. It is so much like a death trap. Potholes everywhere," Says Muhumuza.
James Twikiriize, a boda boda cyclist at shell stage, lamented that the concerned authorities have not shown any interest to repair the dilapidated roads.
"We don't have proper roads here in the down town. The roads need repair but nobody cares," he said. "I have to repair my motorcycle more often because of the bad mechanical function that came as a result of these potholes," said Twikiriize.
Boris Kanyamugara, a businessman along Bufunda road, says that the state of the roads has affected the business in the area reducing the proximity of access to his customers. He says that the authorities should instead remove the existing tarmac and replace it with first-class murrum.
What leaders say?
Apollo Twine Kibeiherere, the Ibanda municipality Mayor, says that the state of the roads in the municipality is a concern to everyone. He says that the authorities have been trying to patch up the roads, but currently there are no funds.
He says the willingness to work on the roads is there but the little funds from the centre have left them with fewer options.
Kibeherere further faults the government for failing to compensate the municipalities and town councils for the lost revenue when they stopped collecting fees from taxi parks.
According to Kibeherere, the municipality used to collect at least 16 million shillings per month as local revenue from the Taxi Park which is no longer the case.
"The municipality budget for road repair has been cut by the Uganda Road Fund this financial year 2019/2020 from sh480m to sh350m yet most of the roads that were initially falling in under the district were taken up taken up by the municipality," explains Kibeiherere.
This has affected our ability to work on the deteriorating roads in the municipality, he adds.
"We have made several requests for more funding from the road fund but we are yet to receive positive results," he says.
Fred Banywana, the secretary for works at Ibanda municipality, says the amount is inadequate because of the big road network that equals to 394 kilometres.
"Since we don't have our own equipment, we entirely depend on the external borrowed equipment especially from the mother district. We have taken steps to write to the centre to give us our road Unit," says Banywana.
Deo Ndimo, the town clerk Ibanda municipality, says the municipality receives the money at the same time as the district receives its quarter.
"The Central government releases money quarterly to all lower local governments. So, you find the district has just received the money to work on a certain road and at the same time, the municipality receives the money to work on a given road yet we use the same road equipment," says Ndimo.
What others say about the situation.
Roads should be worked on to match the standards roads in other town and municipalities.
If we are to boost business in town, it is important that we also focus on roads. if budgets were allowing we would construct new roads.
We need accountability for taxi payers' money. We deserve good roads to enable us attach a big value to the money we pay to government.