Local leaders in Tororo District have appealed to the State House Anti- Corruption Unit to investigate circumstances under which seven newly constructed bridges in various sub-counties have collapsed before being officially handed over to the authorities.
The collapsed bridges are Aderema in Kwapa Sub-county, Komolo in Mella Sub-county, Kennedy and Kadanya in Kalait Sub-county.
Others are Kanginima in Molo Sub-county, Matawa in Nabuyoga Sub-county and Angorom in Morukatipe Sub-county. The bridges were constructed by the Ministry of Works and Transport under the district roads rehabilitation unit in 2018/ 2019.
The bridges that are made of metals and concrete slabs were constructed to improve interconnectivity within the district. Some residents have attributed the collapse of the bridges to last month’s heavy rain that caused flooding in different areas.
Others have accused the contractor of shoddy work, which they said is hard to tame because of corruption within the local government. Mr James Opolot, a resident of Aderema in Kwapa Sub-county, claimed they had earlier alerted their leaders after noticing that the contractor was using substandard materials.
“Corruption has eaten up this country. The government officials no longer do anything without enriching themselves. You see now we are being denied access to various social services because of their acts,” he said.
Ms Catherine Atoo, a councillor representing Aputir parish in Morukatipe Sub-county said the collapsed Angorom bridge has become a death trap. “For your information this bridge has so far claimed two lives and we expect more if no intervention is done and as leaders, we are concerned,” she said.
Mr Frederick Owere, a resident of Matawa Village and a rice farmer, said the bridges have led to a transport crisis that has impacted the price of rice.
“Under normal circumstances, transport from Tororo Town to Nabuyoga is Shs6,000 but following the collapse of the bridges, the fare has gone up to Shs10,000, “ he said. Meanwhile, health authorities have also reported a decline in the number of people seeking services especially antenatal, deliveries and immunisation following the collapse of the bridges.
Mr Ismail Ali Hamba, the Uganda Road Fund force account manager for Eastern Uganda, said they have advised the district to include all the bridges and roads in their plan for reconstruction.
“We sent a team to inspect the bridges and roads and we have considered to re-allocate resources especially in the first quarter of 2021/2022 financial year,” Mr Hamba said.