President Museveni on Tuesday commissioned the new 44.5km Mbale-Bumbobi-Lwakhakha road, another gateway to the Kenyan border.
The new road starts at Bumbobi in Mbale District, proceeds through Nabumali and Bubulo-Busumbu up to Lwakhakha on the border of Uganda and Kenya.
The road passes through 12 trading centres and three districts of Mbale, Manafwa, and Namisindwa.
The President, who cruised on the road shortly after commissioning, asked the residents to use it to transform their lives.
He boasted how his National Resistance Movement (NRM) government delivered a key promise they had made to the people of Eastern Uganda as he campaigned in Manafwa District.
“The government is using taxpayers money to build these roads and we are going to construct more roads across the country,” Mr Museveni said. ADVERTISEMENT
The President also urged Ugandans to pay taxes to enable government undertake major infrastructure projects in the country.
The new road is expected to facilitate trade between Uganda and Kenya. Kenya is one of Uganda’s largest trading partners.
Uganda imports goods worth $54.6m (Shs201b) from Kenya. Export receipts to Kenya in June increased from Shs101b to Shs122b.
On the other hand, Kenya mainly imports agricultural products from Uganda such as maize and vegetables, among others. They also import processed products such as sugar and milk.
In Busia, residents reminded President Museveni to fulfil his pledge of compensating families that lost their property and relatives during the 1988 Uganda-Kenya -Busia border conflict.
The leaders in their joint memo read by Mr John Mulimba, the former MP for Samia Bugwe County, during the meeting at Madibira Primary School, tasked the NRM presidential flag bearer to compensate the victims for the losses .
During the insurgency, the Uganda government then, still under leadership of president Museveni, accused Kenya- based rebels of killing civilians, including elected government councillors.
This prompted Mr Museveni to station troops along the Busia-border to halt the guerrillas from making cross- border raids. Several people were reportedly killed and others lost their property during the conflict.
“The people, who lost their property and relatives during the 1988 Uganda-Kenya Busia border conflicts have never been compensated,” Mr Mulimba told President Museveni, who was meeting NRM leaders as part his campaign in the area.
Mr Godfrey Malomba, the chairperson of NRM entrepreneur league, who lost his father during the conflict, claimed that most people who were killed were supporters of Mr Museveni.
Mr Malomba said rebels were composed of soldiers of former president Milton Obote, who had been overthrown.
“They mobilised themselves and went to Kenya with guns and came back to Uganda, killing people in Busia. Many people who were killed were resistance councillors (RCs), who were supporting Museveni but their families have not been supported,” he said.
The residents also asked Mr Museveni to consider constructing a technical institute in memory of students who were killed while fleeing Amin’s soldiers in 1979 at Bulumbi in Busia District.
The Busia Municipality MP, Mr Hassan Jamba, asked President Museveni to fulfill his pledge of constructing Majanji- Tororo railway line.
“The Majanji – Tororo railway line should be constructed in order to decongest the current border posts of Malaba and Busia,” he said.
Mr Ali Monday, the Busia District NRM coordinator, said government should tarmac the Busia-Tiira-Busitema road to link Tororo to Busia and ease transportation of goods and services.
Mr James Owori, a resident of Busia Town, said Mr Museveni should equip Masafu Hospital with a modern X-ray, theatre and construct state of the art mortuary.
“We need our hospital to be equipped so that we can get better healthcare. Sometimes, we move long distances to access some health services, ,” he said.
Mr Paul Okello, another resident, said the plight of government schools needs to be looked into in order to improve academic performance.
“Most of the secondary Schools; Kayoro SS, Buwembe SS, Bukahikha SS,Busia SS, Masaba College are in poor state,” he said.
Ms Mary Ujaala appealed to government to ensure availability of drugs in the rural health centres.
“Most times, we go the health centres and we are told drugs are out of stock yet we don’t have money to buy from pharmacies,” she said.
The President’s remarks
While addressing his supporters, President Museveni warned politicians against spending most of time on propaganda instead of finding solutions to the people’s problems.
“Some politicians spend more time on public relations by attending burials, introduction, weddings. That alone cannot help our country to develop. We need to avoid that and work,” he said.
He added that NRM government has brought peace and stability, which has enabled investors to establish factories across the country.
“Because of peace, the country has investors, who have constructed many factories in Uganda and this has created employment,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Museveni addressed the crowds for first time since he started his campaign trail shortly after Commissioning Busia main market.
He appealed to them to be cautious about Covid-19.
About the market
The new market, which is one of the 12 additional markets was constructed by the government under the Market and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme [MATIP-2] with funding from the African Development Bank. The market has capacity to accommodate 2,000 vendors and it has 1,261 facilities, including, lock-ups, stalls, pharmacy, pitches, cold rooms, day care facility spaces, among others.