China Henan International Corporation (CHICO), a company that contracted to construct the Kanungu-Kihihi-Rukungiri road is on the spot for failure to rehabilitate district and community access roads damaged by their heavy trucks.
Construction of the 78.5kilometer road that connects to the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo border of Ishasha started in 2018. CHICO is undertaking road works valued at 118 billion Shillings. While construction was beginning, CHICO agreed with leaders in the district to rehabilitate community roads where its vehicles pass to collect materials like stones, concrete, and marram among others.
Locals and leaders however argue that CHICO is yet to rehabilitate any of the community roads in the district, for the three years it has spent using them to collect materials to use in tarmacking Kanungu-Kihihi-Rukungiri road.
As a result, this has made many of the district and community access roads, especially in Kihihi town, Nyamirama town councils, Kihihi, Nyanga, Nyamirama, and Kanyantorogo sub-counties an impassible state.
Ismail Niwagaba a resident of Kabuga village in Kihihi sub-county and Yohana Turihohabwe of Nyakinoni village in Kigarama parish, Nyamirama sub-county says that they had greatly welcomed CHICO in the community to collect materials, especially murram so that they tarmac Kanungu-Kihihi-Rukungiri road without any setback.
Turihohabwe and Niwagaba also say that the promise and commitment always to renovating district community and district roads damaged by heavy trucks collecting materials made them very happy.
They however say that they have now started losing trust in CHICO after their promise is yet to be fulfilled since 2018. They say that all the district and community roads where heavy trucks use while collecting materials like murram. They cite Kihihi- Kibimbiri-Matanda road which is used by CHICO trucks to collect sand and marram and is currently in a very sorry state. They fault CHICO for its failure to walk the talk and rehabilitate the roads.
Elias Mbabazi , the district councilor representing Kihihi sub county says that Kihihi-Kameme that connects Kanungu and Kasese through Queen Elizabeth National park Ishasha sector, Kihihi-Nyamirama, Kihihi-Nyanga and Kihihi-Kinyabutongo-Matanda roads are currently impassible due to huge potholes created by CHICO trucks. Mbabazi says that their cries to have the roads rehabilitated are yet to be considered.
Gad Rugaaju Ahimbisibwe, the Kanungu Deputy Resident District Commissioner says that groups of locals have now and then stormed his office in demonstration against CHICO over the failure to rehabilitate district and community roads. He faults CHICO officials for being adamant about responding to locals’ demands, in accordance with how it had been agreed upon.
Sam Kajojo Arinetwe, the Kanungu LC 5 Chairperson, and Gad Rugaaju Ahimbisibwe, Kanungu Deputy Resident District Commissioner say that their offices have always engaged CHICO officials to make sure that the affected roads are rehabilitated but the engagements are yet to produce positive results.
Kajojo, however, raises a complaint against CHICHO for failure to install road safety signs on the under-construction Kanungu-Kihihi-Rukungiri road saying that it has led to an increase in accidents, especially at night.
In response, Hao Ming, the CHICO project manager calls for patience saying that the company has started rehabilitating the district and community access roads.
Hao also says that even others that are not yet rehabilitated will be worked on.