UGANDA: JAPANESE ENVOY HANDS OVER 19 UPGRADED GULU MUNICIPALITY ROADS TO UGANDA GOVERNMENT

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Japanese envoy, Mizumoto Horii, addressing guests at handover ceremony

“You still have a small traffic and a calm environment and these improved roads is a milestone in transport infrastructure in Northern Uganda. I like the strategic location of Gulu because it is the link with South Sudan and DRC. It is my sincere wish that these roads will stand as a symbol between Uganda and Japan. It is yet another milestone in the Uganda-Japan partnership”

“I was here in 1998 and again in 2006. When I come back now and see Gulu; and when I flash back, we must really thank God. Gulu has transformed this much! We must thank the leaderships in Gulu. I must thank the people of Gulu for getting out with the bad days where we had night commuters to now supermarkets. Nobody should think of putting the country at war again. No part of Uganda which has not received coffin because of the war we had in the north”

GULU-UGANDA:The Japanese Deputy Head of Mission to Uganda, H.E. Mizumoto Horii, has Wednesday November 27, 2019, handed over 19 roads upgraded within the central business center of Gulu Municipal Council to asphalt concrete standards with grants from the Government of Japan through its agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Uganda State Minister of Works, General Edward Katumba Wamala, received the UGX.65 billion (about US$ 18.1million) roads on behalf of government; and he in turn handed it over to the leadership of the municipality.

The minister unveiled the monument of the project at about 02.00 pm local time (about 11.00 GMT) to a thunderous applause and ululations by the guests invited to witness the occasion. Many expressed excitement for the quality of the work done by the Japanese contractor as compared to the workmanship of the Chinese.

“The project for improvement of Gulu Municipal Council roads in Northern Uganda…. Grant aid from the people of Japan as a token of friendship and cooperation between Japan and Uganda. 2019” reads the monument planted on the western pavement of Gulu Avenue.

Ambassador Mizumoto revealed that when the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) was held in Yokohama, Kanagwa, Japan under the theme: ‘Africa and Yokohama, Sharing Passions for the Future” between August 28 to 30, 2019, it was agreed that ‘infrastructure is key to African development’.

He said his country chose to upgrade the roads in the soon to be Gulu city because of its strategic location as the link between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and that the region lag behind in infrastructural developments because of the over two-decade insurgencies which destroyed its infrastructures.

“You still have a small traffic and a calm environment and these improved roads is a milestone in transport infrastructure in Northern Uganda. I like the strategic location of Gulu because it is the link with South Sudan and DRC. It is my sincere wish that these roads will stand as a symbol between Uganda and Japan. It is yet another milestone in the Uganda-Japan partnership”, says the envoy.

Receiving the roads, General Katumba Wamala thanked the leaderships in Gulu for transforming the Municipality from a town which was ravaged by over two-decade war to a modern town with good infrastructures, especially its roads and good hotels which supports the tourism industry.

“I was here in 1998 and again in 2006. When I come back now and see Gulu; and when I flash back, we must really thank God. Gulu has transformed this much! We must thank the leaderships in Gulu. I must thank the people of Gulu for getting out with the bad days where we had night commuters to now supermarkets. Nobody should think of putting the country at war again. No part of Uganda which has not received coffin because of the war we had in the north”, says General Katumba Wamala.

General Katumba said Uganda government is investing heavily on infrastructures like road networks and electricity because the vision of government is to transform the country from a land-locked country to a land-linked country with neighboring countries like South Sudan and DRC. He revealed that infrastructural developments have been taking the lion’s share of the national budget for the last two financial years because of that vision. He said Ugandans can now drive from one border point to another border point on tarmac roads in a single day without any problem like bad roads or insecurity.

The minister appealed to the people of the municipality which will soon be elevated to a regional city to jealously guard these development projects because they belong to the people for their benefit but not for leaders. He implored them not to temper with what has been installed like road signs, street lights and they should stop dumping rubbish in the drainage.

Earlier, the chairman LCV, Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, requested the Ministry of Works to think of allowing JICA to re-do sections of roads within the Municipality which was poorly done by the Chinese firm that constructed Gulu-Attiak highway. He mentioned the quality of the work done on Layibi roundabout, which has become a deathtrap and the section from Custom Corner to Bank of Uganda regional center which was narrowed and is causing a lot of accidents. Other road the chairman want worked on include Pope Paul road which links For God center on Juba highway to the airport.

He however castigated some politicians within the town who wanted to sabotage the work by conniving with some property owners in town and dragged JICA to court and wanted to put an injunction for the work to be halted.

“When the contractor took over the site, some councilors and people who didn’t have goodwill started politicking. Some developers took us to court and wanted injunction. We had to travel all night to Kampala to salvage the situation. The contractor was taken to court. Are you suing them for helping you? Let us stop un-necessary propaganda. What mindset is that?” Mapenduzi said to the minister.

The Mayor, Mr. George Labeja revealed that the Ministry of Finance released UGX. 3.2 billion (about US$. 900,000.00) for installing streetlights along these roads upgraded by the Japanese funds. He however appealed to the minister to avail the soon to be city a crane to service these streetlights.

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