Stirling Civil Engineering Limited ongoing road works in Jinja City. Courtesy photo.

Jinja deploys UPDF to guard road contractor’s equipment, workers

(Last Updated On: 12 September 2022)

Eng. John William Byaruhanga has reassured Jinja City dwellers that the shs16b project will be completed before the deadline of June 2023.


By Nelly Otto

JINJA – Sept. 12, 2022: The old popular proverbial saying, prevention is better than cure which simply means it’s better to stop something bad from happening than it is to seek a remedy after the damage is done has become a very big inspiration to the Jinja City leadership.

Jinja Mayor Rio Alton Peter Kasolo Okocha says they have now been forced to deploy the mighty UPDF soldiers to guard the equipment for Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd, the Chinese company contracted to construct roads in the city.

“…if they can carry the very heavy multi-purpose bulldozer and disappear with it in thin air, how easy it will be for the same group to swallow all your road equipment…?” he said rhetorically.

This after it emerged that the billion-dollar dozer was stolen by the chief enforcement officer at the City Hall Denis Mbimboona and others still at large.

The whereabouts of Mbimboona are not known since the incident and all his known phone contacts have been switched off triggering suspicion that he was behind the theft.

The head of mechanical engineering at the Yard Eng. Lydia Nabirye, head of department Eng. David Eremye and enforcement personnel were recently detained and released on bond after recording statements.

Speaking during the second site meeting held at the Council Chambers, the former comedian-turned politician warned residents against vandalism and theft of equipment saying the acts are counterproductive.

The Bugolobi-based Zongmei won a contract worth shs58b to construct roads in Jinja City, and Lugazi and Kamuli Municipalities under the last phase of the World Bank-funded Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) through the ministries of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Local Government.

 The representative of the joint consultant firm (Professional Engineering Consultants Ltd with UB Consulting Engineers Ltd) Eng. John William Byaruhanga has reassured Jinja City dwellers that the shs16b project will be completed before the deadline of June 2023.

He attributed the delays in starting the actual physical works to a review of the designs per the contract details to avoid issues that can interrupt the contractor’s work.

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Another stingy issue is the relocation of utility services lines like National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) pipes, UMEME poles and cables, and telecom companies MTN, Airtel, Roke and NITA which is delaying the work.

“…this is one of the best companies we have in the country and for sure Jinja will get value for money because they have a very good track record everywhere…,” Byaruhanga assured Jinja.

Jinja City Speaker Bernard Mbayo asked both the contractor and the consultant to comply with the issue of local content in line with the government policy to employ locals in the project.

“…this is the only way the project can make sense when our local chaps get the opportunity to be employed instead of ferrying all the workers including casual ones from outside the region…,” Mbayo pleaded.

The contractor assured the local leadership that the majority of the workforce will be solicited from within and that some have already been brought on board, adding more are set to join as work progresses.

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