KCCA PAINTS MAKERERE ROADS BLACK
By Kariuki Joseph
The reopening of Makerere University in early January came with a surprise to many especially the students who were used to potholed and dusty roads around the campus. Most of the untarmacked roads were muddy during rainy seasons while the potholed became impassableand it became even worse during rainy seasons. If not careful, most of the students walking along these roads would get splashed with water by careless drivers.
Things had changed now and what they saw at first were murramed roads and trucks at work allover campus. Some of the students who knew nothing about the renovation project were about to strike demanding an explanation of what was going on “No wonder president Museveni closed Makerere. They are putting murram on our roads, they can’t afford tarmacked roads…weweeeeee….” One of Makerere students shouted. Little did they know that Makerere was about to get a new face which would not only leave Makerere roads clean but would also enhance safety, beauty and accessibility.
There has been attempts to seal these pot holes by prime contractors whose work was to cut and fill, formation, gravelling, lime stabilization, prime coat, road marking and painting. Their efforts didn’t change the condition of these roads since most of the potholes unfilled therefore calling for the entire construction of roads.
It was later clear that Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) had signed a memorandum of understanding with Makerere University to rehabilitate roads within the campus.Makerere University surrendered some of its land to KCCA for the upgrading of Makerere Hill road which encroached 2.468acres of its land. As a compensation, the university was offered 6billion shillings and instead of pocketing the money, the two institutions decided to use the funds to renovate roads in campus.
According to Deputy vice chancellor finance and administration, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the project will be undertaken by KCCA engineers and Sterling Civil engineering limited. Among the key roads to be constructed include Mary Stuart road, pool road, Technology road, Western gate road, Lincoln stretch, religious roads which are leading to religious centers among others.During a compensation meeting with KCCA officials, Prof Nawangwe revealed that the main gate will also be part of the renovation project and it will be redevelopedinto a two-lane to reduce traffic congestion at campus and relocated 30 metres into the university from its current position.
“This is one of the best decisions Makerere has ever made. They would have pocketed the money and invest on other less meaningful projects which most of us could not feel or realise they exist or even decide to ‘chew’ it and no one would ever know especially some of us students who are too busy with our studies and less concerned with issues taking place in campus. The untarmacked roads were too dusty especially the dry seasons and would become worse on rainy seasons since they were too muddy hence avoiding them in all the ways possible,” Kiwanuka Bernard, Education student, said.
However, not everyone is pleased with the ongoing renovation project. According to Namata Lydia, a statistics finalist student, the decision of pumping 6 billion shillings into renovation of roads was steered buy few members instead of involving the entire Makerere community. She would prefer the money to pay the lecturers’ arrears to avoid more strikes which was a result to Makerere closure or even invest in improving technology in Makerere.
The project which will take four months has inconvenienced most of the people accessing university facilities due to closure of some routes during the construction. Most of them include hostel shuttles which are forced to use different routes especially the university road which has caused traffic congestions around campus.