The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has expressed concern over the increasing number of open manholes that put city dwellers’ lives at risk.
An Observer reader, Paul Rwambangye Aruho, this week wrote to complain that as he was disembarking from a taxi last Friday, he sank his foot in a manhole.
Describing open manholes as a “deathinjury trap to Ugandans”, Aruho said the accident left him with a sharp pain in the back which was taking long to heal.
The problem seems widespread. Along Tufnell Drive in Kamwokya, near The Observer offices, for instance, there are at least seven open manholes on a stretch of100 metres without street lights. Many at a time, pupils of Kitante primary school, among other users, are seen negotiating their way around these gaping holes.
“These manholes have never been closed for two years. It’s not only dangerous for school children but sometimes dogs fall and rot in there,” says Peter Lugemwa, a daily user of this road.
However, KCCA now says the problem will soon be addressed.
“This has been an ongoing problem. We empathise with the victims and our team is prioritizing the coveringof all open manholes,” Peter Kaujju, the KCCA publicist, told us on Wednesday.
Kaujju, who was unaware about the two-year-old problem at Tufnell Drive, promised that a team would be dispatched with immediate effect. Early this year, KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that the authority would hire a contractor to fix all manholes as it had become too costly to do it in-house.
Musisi blamed the problem on people who steal the metallic covers, although road users wonder why KCCA does not use concrete covers which are not as vulnerable to vandalism. Despite Musisi’s promise of a contractor, Kaujju now says they have since decided to do the work in-house instead.
“We are trying to assess how cheap it is for us to do this work in-house. We think it’s cheaper in-house” Kaujju said.
Kaujju pointed out that some manholes were the responsibility of entities such as National Water and Sewerage Corporation and telecom companies. He, however, admitted that it was the storm-water manholes – which are KCCA’s responsibility – that were “more dangerous” to people.
Since she became the inaugural KCCA executive director, Musisi has been credited with building roads and beautifying parts of the city with lawns and flowers.
Source : The Observer