Work on UCU’s Bishop Tucker Road stalls
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2021/04/work-on-ucus-bishop-tucker-road-stalls/
Story and Photos by Israel Kisakye and Joseph Lagen
It is commonplace for vendors on the Bishop Tucker Road to wipe thick dust off their merchandise. Some traders operating electronics shops have been forced to buy electric blowers to remove dusty grime from their displayed equipment. The road, 4.7 miles long, links the Kampala-Jinja highway to Namilyango. It is also the main road to the Mukono campus of Uganda Christian University (UCU).
Reagan Muyinda, a graduate of Bachelor of Public Administration and Management at UCU, operates one of those whose business – selling ice cream – affected by the state of the road. “My customers leave the shop immediately after buying ice cream because of the dust,” Muyinda says.
But dust is not the only challenge on the road, named after the Bishop Tucker Theological College (later becoming Uganda Christian University). The street is also riddled with pot-holes.
In December 2020, people operating businesses issued a sigh of relief when Mukono Municipality’s local council started renovations on the road. The constructors placed fresh tarmac on the section of the road from the Bus Stop on the Kampala-Jinja road to Wandegeya trading centre, just before the UCU small gate, a distance of about 0.4miles.
However, the excitement of the businesspeople was cut short. For now (mid-April 2021), the works on the road have stalled.
Nevertheless, the Mukono Municipal Council’s head engineer is hopeful the road repairs will be completed.
“We are working alongside the central government to get the construction done,” says Josiah Sserunjoji, an engineer who blames the snail pace of the construction on the lack of funds. “We are co-operating with the government to get enough funds to complete the road works.”
According to Sserunjoji, it costs a little over $880,000 to construct a mile on the road.
The Mukono Municipal Council says it is responsible for the section of road from the Bus Stop on the Kampala-Jinja Road up to the end of the university fence. After that, the responsible agency for managing the road is the national roads agency, the Uganda National Roads Authority. The money used by the Mukono Municipal Council for the road works comes from their fund of locally collected taxes.
UCU’s Director of Facilities and Capital Projects, Eng. David Kivumbi, says since 2010, they have been in discussions with the Mukono Municipal Council over the works on the Bishop Tucker Road.
“Sadly, we hit a dead end each time we hold the discussions,” Kivumbi, who is also in charge of construction works at the university, says. “While they promise to work on the road, all they do is fill the pot-holes with murram, which easily erodes.” Murram is laterite which is largely used for surfaces of seasonal roads in Africa.
Beyond the impact on businesses, the uneven, dusty road negatively effects the image of UCU, endangers pedestrians as they dodge vehicles weaving in and out of potholes and hinders UCU student travel to classes.
Lillian Nganzi, a final-year student of Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication, said whenever it rains, the road becomes slippery for cars and foot travelers. Students’ clothing is covered with dust in dry weather and mud when it rains, causing discomfort and often delaying their time to classes.
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