China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has been accused of disrespecting the rights of People with Disabilities in the ongoing renovation at Entebbe International Airport.
CCCC was awarded the contract by the Government of Uganda to renovate Entebbe International Airport.
The complaint was raised on the floor of Parliament by Bubulo West MP, Rose Mutonyi, alleging that one of the users of the airport experienced a humiliating treatment at the hands of CCCC.
She narrated an incident that purportedly took place on January09, 2018 when one white passenger was forced to shout on top of his voice, demanding for a carrier to carry his luggage because of the disruptions in the renovations.
“Are we going to have that type of treatment for the old and disabled? It is happening to our people every day. Something needs to be done,” Mutonyi said.
She was supported by the Mbale Municipality MP, Wamai Wamanga, who warned that failure by Government to address the concerns raised will render efforts to attract tourists to Uganda useless.
“We are trying to convince people to come here, but if that person goes back and narrates of his ordeal, then such a thing can do a minus,” he said.
Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa defended the Executive arguing that sometimes such conveniences are inevitable during renovations at any site.
“I want to assure the country that this will stop because the project has a time frame, but this doesn’t mean we will not check. I Will ensure that Minister [of Works and Transport] is on ground because Entebbe is our eye and ensure our people aren’t inconvenienced,” she said.
However, William Nzoghu, the Shadow Works Minister wondered if there aren’t any other measures that can undertake to help people in the meantime.
“We have been to other airports and you still have a service that is descent, why isn’t it applicable to Ugandan situation?” he said.
Hellen Asamo, Persons With Disabilities Representing Eastern Region joined the debate, saying that services for the people with disability are always available, but the users are forced to demand them because Uganda has made the said services very selective.
“There is critical need for people in Uganda to wake up. I think it is an issue of negligence not renovation,” Asamo argued.
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah said there was no need for Parliament to go forth and back with the matter because when contractors are handed sites, they have to ensure alternatives are created.
“It is the responsibility of the contractor to ensure the convenient ways are in existence. It is a matter that doesn’t need to be debated. Why are they making people suffer like that?” Oulanyah asked.
It should be recalled that renovations on Entebbe Airport started in May 2017 and the project is estimated to cost over USD 200M.
The scope of works will involve construction of new cargo terminal, oil firm and strengthening of aero planes runway.