The Executive Director of Uganda National Roads Authority Ms Alen Kagina has rejected bids from seven companies to upgrade the Rukungiri–Kihihi–Ishasha–Kanungu road.
In a statement seen by Daily Monitor Ms Kagina, citing the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Act noted that the procurement process had been rejected.
“This is to inform you that all bids in the above procurement have been rejected,” reads in part the statement dated March 29.
According to the Act, a procuring and disposing entity may reject bids at any time prior to the award of a contract.
Speaking to Daily Monitor, Mr Eliab Nasasira Twinomuhwezi, the district youth councilor and chairperson finance and planning committee Kanungu district challenges UNRA to come out and explain why the upgrading of the road has stalled.
“I have been hearing about the tarmacking of this road for a long time. It is time the people of Kanungu to petition President Museveni because the road affects us a lot. We are suffering accidents and economic setbacks because of poor roads,” Mr Nasasira said adding that “We demand for the road and UNRA should come out clean.”
Mr Nasasira who said that that this is the third time the upgrading of the roads is being suspended added that the district of Kanungu for example has many youth involved in agriculture but they can’t access markets to sell their produce since the roads are in a sorry state.
“UNRA should do due diligence and contract companies that are not in bad books of government agencies so that we get our road,” said Mr Nasasira.
Last year, Police in Kanungu district arrested six people for allegedly demonstrating over delayed construction of the same road.
The protesters claimed that government had promised that tarmacking the road would commence in January 2016 but up to now there is no work being done. President Museveni during the 2016 presidential campaigns reportedly assured the people of Kanungu that he would ensure the tarmacking of the road immediately after the election.
“When I am in office the question of the road will be history,” Mr Museveni is quoted to have said.
According to sources familiar with the procurement process, particular individuals at UNRA are blocking the upgrading of the road for personal reasons.
Sources told this newspaper that Zhongmei Engineering Limited which had been best evaluated to upgrade the road is among the companies parliament warned UNRA not to work with.
Another issue stems from a court order that stopped UNRA from dealing with the company that was best evaluated.
Accordingly, sources add, that Ms Kagina cancelled the whole process.
It is against this background that Mr Nasasira says that UNRA should deal with companies that have a clean track record.
Sources in Rukungiri district told Daily Monitor that the road was a political promise and that no civil servant should stop it.
“President Museveni should help us and look into this matter of our road because UNRA is playing on our minds,” said the source who asked not to be named.
The Rukungiri–Kihihi–Ishasha–Kanungu road is approximately 79 kilometres and connects Rukungiri District and the town of Ishasha in Kanungu District, at the International border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Some of the companies whose bids were rejected include Zhongmei Engineering Group Limited, Al Mayehu Katema General Contractor, China Railway Seventh Group, Dott Services Limited, Ashoka Bulicon Ltd Nashik India and CGCO Group Co. Ltd among others.