On January 14, 2020, Ugandans will take to the polls to pick the next President.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM’s) flag bearer Yoweri Kaguta Museveni says, when he took over as President in 1986, the country had been plagued by political instability. However, over the last two decades, there has been relative peace in most parts of the country.
Following the political turmoil of the 1960s through to the 70s and 80s, the ideology of the NRM was born. And 35-years down the road, the NRM has registered several key achievements across key economic, political and social sectors. In this report, we take at look at some of the interventions in the roads and electricity sub sectors.
Uganda’s road network has considerably expanded over the last decade, connecting almost 80% of the country to its border posts, while facilitating trade with her regional neighbors.
In 1986, when the NRM government captured state power, the total national road network was only 7,900Km and of the 1,900Km that had been tarmacked, only 114Km was in fair condition. The remaining 1,786km was in a poor state.
The condition of the roads network remained a major road block to the country’s development agenda, until president Museveni intervened in around 2008.
By 2008, public spending on roads was low by international standards, and the unit cost also exceptionally high, for reasons including the low volume of work, a lack of competition and weaknesses of the ministry of works, responsible for procuring and supervising road services.
In 2008, Museveni insisted on the creation of an authority, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), to take charge of the roads portfolio and at the same time launched the Uganda Road Fund (URF) to address the maintenance backlog.
He also advocated for a significant increase in the budget for public spending on national roads from Sh398b to Sh3, 442b in 2015/16, and today, the condition of the roads in much improved.
“The roads are good from East to West, North to South and North West to South East, which makes the movement of tourists and other human beings easy,” he said.
ccording to Uganda Road Fund (URF) the country now boasts of approximately 140,000km of roads, categorized as national roads (20,500km) under the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
Others are city roads (2,110km) under Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), district roads (30,000km) under 121 district local governments, and urban roads (71,500 km) under 14 municipalities, 214 town councils and community access roads.
Of these, according to URF, the paved stock has grown over the years to 4,971km equivalent to 24% of the road network.
Over the last five years, government has focused mainly on paving about 2,000km of new roads, aimed at increasing the tarmac foot print from 4,900km to about 6,000km.
Greater Kampala, comprising parts of Wakiso and Mukono districts is Uganda’s major business hub, generating over 50% of our GDP have seen several raods upgraded during the period.
In Kampala’s Central division, the Fairway Hotel junction was rebuilt and traffic lights installed, while Kisenyi Health Centre IV was refurbished. Rebuilding of the New Taxi Park, Lugogo Bypass, Lumumba Avenue, Yusuf Lule, Wandegeya-Nankulabye, Makerere Hill, Mengo Hill, Kikuubo Lane, Nakasero and Mpabaana Roads is complete.
More highlights include construction of non-motorised lanes, while rebuilding of Nakivubo Stadium and Kisekka Market is ongoing. Construction of Usafi Market, Kafumbe Mukasa Road in Kisenyi and Mwanga II Road in Mengo is complete, as is rehabilitation of Kisenyi and Mengo sewerage lines.
In Kawempe division, renovation of Mulago National Referral Hospital and Kawempe General Hospital is complete. Northern Bypass is being expanded to ease traffic and linkages with newly tarmacked roads i.e. Jakana, Nanfumbambi and Kimera roads.
Other roads tarmacked include Waliggo, Kawempe-Ttula-Mpererwe, KawempeLugoba-Kawaala, Kisaasi-Bahai, Erisa, Muganzi Awongera and Bwaise-Kalerwe.
Makerere and Bwaise roads were rebuilt and traffic lights installed at the Makerere University main gate.
Within Rubaga division, roads tarmacked include Kabaka Anjangala, NalukolongoMutundwe, Kaweesa-Buganda Royal University, Muteesa I University-Mengo, NateeteKibumbiro-Busega and Mugwanya.
The Bakuli-Kasubi segment of Hoima Road, Nakibinge and Old Masaka Roads have been rebuilt and Busega Market refurbished.
Highlights in Makindye division include paving of roads i.e. Hanlon, Second Street, Soweto, Bukasa Ring, Kibuli, Zimwe, Ggaba, Namuwongo, Kulekana, Go Down, Kakungulu, Jjuuko-Kibuye and Kevina- Nsambya. Kiruddu Referral Hospital and Kisungu Health Centre III have been constructed.
In Nakawa division, roads tarmacked include Kisaasi-Kyanja, Ddembe-KilowoozaKungu, Old Kira, Lakeside, Radio Maria-Biina Church and Kiwatule roads. Tarmacking of the Nakawa-Ntinda stretch is ongoing.
In Wakiso district, which overlaps with greater Kampala, roads tarmacked include Namasuba-Ndejje-Kitiko, Nansana- Busunju, Seguku-Kasenge-Budo, Kira- Kasangati and Kirinya-Bukasa. Others are Kireka-Kyaliwajjala-Kira, Gayaza-Zirobwe, GayazaKayunga, Seguku-Katale-Budo, Kazo-Lugoba and Kyaliwajjala-Namugongo- Seeta.
Others paved in Entebbe municipality include Church Road, Silver Kiwanuka, Fulu, Bassude Rise and Busambaga roads.
In 2001, president Museveni launched the construction of the US$550M Bujugali dam on the Nile River after the World Bank approval for the project.
First proposed in 1994, the dam was not approved for construction until December 2001 due to concerns raised by environmentalists and some MPs. At the launch, Museveni criticised opponents of the dam, who he said had caused the project to be delayed by seven years.
The dam came under intense scrutiny from opponents who complained that Bujagali was a ‘white elephant’ that would not bring electricity to the majority of Ugandans who were not connected to the grid.
Other critics said alternative sources of electricity were not seriously analysed, bearing in mind that developing Bujagali would interfere with tourist activity such as whitewater rafting, before getting the government green light.
After convincing, the World Bank, through its private lending arm the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Development Agency, committed $215M in direct loans and guarantees for the hydro dam.
The dam, consisting 5 turbines was commissioned in 2012, with installed capacity of 250MW, and has significantly changed the depiction for Uganda’s energy need. It should be noted that the period pre-dating 1986 was mainly characterised by power shortages, primarily credited to the civil and economic strife the country was facing at the time.
Power generation at the time stood at 60MW, but over the last 34 years, generation has grown to 1,252.4MW, and this is expected to hit 2035.4MW with the coming on board of the 783MW Karuma dam.
Ayago, 400MW Aringa, Kikagati 9MW Kabalega dam in Buseruka, Hoima and 6.6MW Kanungu power station and a host of other power dams are expected to raise Uganda’s generation capacity over the years.
Construction of power dams at Karuma (600MW) and Isimba (183MW) on the River Nile is ongoing. The government also exended the national grid power distribution to households from 11% to 15% and expanded the coverage by over 5,000km.
These interventions have improved sufficient power for the country, but also brought down the cost of electricity for key economic sectors such as manufacturing.