Mr Sam Atul addressing the media in Lira City last month. Photo by NEN.

Lira City Mayor Atul, should relocate Kitgum stage

(Last Updated On: 22 January 2023)

The Lira-Kitgum stage is like the Wandegeya of Kampala although the two places have distinct differences.

I must confess that traveling, voyages, and adventure were not something I ever considered quite serious in life while growing up as a little boy in my remote village’s staff quarter where my father was a pedagogue.

The most interesting twist and turn of fate are that my mum would tell me that my little shiny fingers could make me a fine surgeon, and yet a complete paradox would come. 

At the fireplace late in the evening, my dad would read me excerpts from Chinua Achebe and Ngungi. Many other countless books would later cultivate my enthusiasm for literature in English. 

One thing was clear for sure, I knew this was the only canal to sail through to the world of journalism where I could not only tell stories but also positively critique other’s pieces.

To cut the long story short,  when I finally found myself in the journalism world, I didn’t know it was all about experiencing unplanned trips whenever duty calls.

But to take you back to basics, every time I am traveling to a completely new destination, I am worried about my directions, where I am gonna lay down my head, and how safe I am crossing the streets.

As a traveler, in Uganda, one is expected to encounter several problems, and road crash top the chart today.

Now, statistics never lie. 3,700 people worldwide lose their lives on a daily in road crashes. In Africa, the figure stands at 1.28m yearly while in Uganda at least 12 people are killed in road crashes every day.

According to available statistics, reckless driving and sometimes under the influence of alcohol and dangerous drugs are the biggest contributors to road crashes in Uganda, but for now, I will stick to negligence!

Every 8 out of 10 people I have interacted with about their preferred stopover and place of residence while in Kampala, said “Wandegeya”. Don’t even think far, but for the most basic reasons, it is because of ease of access to accommodation and fast food.

To me, Kitgum stage is the Wandegeya of Lira City.

Just a year or so since the economy opened fully, the Lira-Kitgum stage is a beehive of activities both day and night. One is so swift to book accommodation, and grab chicken wings, and a bottle of beer.

 As luck would have it, a non-killer developmental bombshell dropped from the World Bank dubbed Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructural Development (USMID) that would lift Kitgum stage (Oyam) road that stretches from Wonyaci road and join Obote Avenue (main street)

So from a narrow street, Oyam road is now a dual carriage street, magnificent in its elegance to the extent that some people now call it “Entebbe road”, but its glory is short-lived. Why? Here is my yes:

I am not a road construction engineer, nor a traffic police officer but on a dual carriage street, the international standard and practice are that you have vehicles moving shoulder to shoulder on one lane and the same to the opposite lane. But how is this traffic flow supposed to be maintained when you have a taxi park on one side of the lane with vehicles turning at will coupled with double-parked trucks blocking visibility? 

The above is the exact situation at or along the Lira-Kitgum stage (Oyam road). 

For instance, to create a vivid picture, practically, when you are driving from Rhino Oil and you have to turn left to either drive straight to QFM or even better still cut through Lillian Towers you have to bear the rudeness of mean-looking Fuso drivers making U-turns on the road. Does the mayor know about this?

Leave that alone, in this same article, I have quoted horrific statistics of hundreds of thousands of people who lose their lives in road carnages. 

The World Bank, the biggest funder of this construction of dual carriage street factored in the component of walkways for pedestrians, but alas, they have been turned into “shopping malls” under the close watch of Mayor Sam Atul and his compatriots. I can imagine how the World Bank can be laughing at how stupid Africans can be

So, Mr. Mayor, with all the powers vested by the voter of Lira City onto you and your council, can’t you find an alternative land which is after all being stolen left and right to create a park for Kitgum, Otuke, Alebtong, and decongest our Lira? In any case, the real Wandegya doesn’t have a bus terminal. If not, why not resign? Because to God, his people will die because of a lack of your knowledge.

The author is the Editor and Director for Strategic Communications at TND News and its parent organization, GLCSMS.


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