Intrigue has been the modus operandi of Jinja’s politicians for quite some time but the stakes have now gone higher as sabotage has become another power card to play. This has been cited on the numerous development projects that took off but were never completed without avoidable scandal.
A section of politicians and technocrats have now chosen to have the Jinja Municipality Town Clerk, Francis Byabagambi, transferred at all costs to the extent that they have involved State House.
A number of politicians and technocrats who included a politician and a technocrat from Walukuba-Masese Division, a Jinja Municipality technocrat and a powerful politician we will not name at this time were sighted at State House in what we have learned was a move to have Byabagambi transferred.
Early in 2017, at the time the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Main Street road project was being actualized, a powerful politician moved to influence Byabagambi into ‘awarding’ the contract to an Asian company they fronted. Unknown to the politician, Byabagambi was incorruptible and had been warned about dealing with them.
The Town Clerk let the procurement process take its natural course and the contract was awarded to Star Group, much to the anger of the powerful politician that he vowed to sabotage and make life difficult for the Town Clerk.
There have been numerous complaints about the road construction and redesign to a point that it all smacked of influenced anger. The new road design will see three road turns at Scindia Road, Nizam Road and Kutch Road sealed off. This, according to the project consultant, was agreed on by the technocrats and contractor. If altered, the road will have to be lowered and the drainage redesigned, something that will not only take more time but also need more money; UGX 4bn according to the consultant.
“…it has turned out into a power-play of ‘who has bigger balls’ at the expense of a nearly completed road…”
The influenced complaints now come from a UGX 15m funding that was secretly shared among councilors at Speke Courts, a hangout in Jinja Town. The funding was to have a council seating block a resolution pertaining to the road project and also incriminate the Town Clerk. The plan was foiled by a last-minute disagreement about who was to bell the cat. The plan has since shifted to influencing townsmen and disrupting all meetings pertaining to the construction works.
The situation now remains shaky as it has turned out into a power-play of ‘who has bigger balls’ at the expense of a nearly completed road and expense of the townsmen. The delays are surely an inconvenience to the business community that trades on Main Street and the road users as traffic has become a nightmare.
This is still a developing story and we will keep you updated.