By Peter Abaanabasazi
Land wrangles and court cases are the major obstacles affecting the progress for the tarmacking of the 100 kilometer Kabwoya-Kyenjojo oil road project funded by world Banks.
Government in 2015 contracted Shengli Engineering Construction Co. Limited, a Chinese construction firm to tarmac the road at a cost of Sh214 billion.
The construction works is supposed to be complete by April 2019, but officials say that the contractor has been given six month extension.
William Matovu, the head land acquisition at Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) observes that majority of the project affected persons (PAPs) who have not yet been compensated have wrangles regarding land ownership.
Speaking during the stakeholder’s tour to assess the progress of construction works on road on Thursday, Matovu said that due to land wrangles and court, cases some areas have been left out until these cases and wrangles get settled.
He noted that out of the 5,757 PAPs, 5709 have been fully compensated, leaving 48 persons uncompensated.
Shs24 billion is the total compensation money.
He said majority of the uncompensated people have family land disputes while others are complaining of undervaluation, adding that UNRA is holding the money of such PAPs in Escrow accounts until the rightful ownership is established.
He added that they have also faced a challenge of PAPs who died without a will.
“The lengthy process in letters of administration to avoid fraudulent persons obtaining compensation has affected the land acquisition progress,” said Matovu.
Engineer Alex Otim, the project manager observed that despite the challenges, the project is moving on steadily and they are expected to complete within the extended time frame.
He explained that the project progress which now stands at 43 percent is expected to be completed by September next year. He added that 60% of the bridges, 35km of earth works and 24 surface dressing are complete.
He added that they are currently working on stone pitching access roads, walk ways in trading centers and grassing of the road sides.
Steven Buryahika, the Kabwoya sub-county chairperson said the road is acting as trade link for Bunyoro and other regions saying it has already started boasting trade and challenged the contractor to expedite the constriction of the access roads for the locals, saying that it is one of the challenges affecting their movements.