A Travellerspoint blog

March 2019

Road to Nowhere

sunny 36 °C

I was amazed to see the road between the swankiest hotel in Arua, Golden Courts (which is supposedly owned by Idi Amin’s remaining family!) that runs towards the President’s Arua residence, being re-surfaced for the 3rd time last year.

It is a road I know well as I like to run up it because it is wide and quiet and is adjacent to the green grass (or dry-season yellow just now) of the colonial-built Arua golf course. The well-maintained golf course with its large purple-flowering jacaranda trees is a refreshing sight contrasting with the haphazard and chaotic nature of other parts of Arua.

The other time, I noticed that the smoothness of the tarmac lasted a week until the heavy tropical rain came and showed the shabby work of the road workers for what it was. The tarmac was only a few millimetres thick, a thin layer on top of the pastel coloured marram.
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This time, the same thing happened. The tarmac on the road lasted a short time before potholes began to appear. The road looked good for less than a month reminding me of how some new, shiny items I’ve bought disappoint because they are shoddily made.
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In the past month, 2 senior officials from Arua have been arrested on suspicion of misappropriating 436 million Uganda Shillings or £90,000 that were designated for road construction in Arua. (https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Arua-officials-charged-corruption/688334-4991822-qmj2t9/index.html)

Hopefully justice can be served on these men and others that were involved.

The organisation Transparency International notes that corruption in Uganda is endemic in all sectors of society, with giving Uganda a score of 149 out of 180 countries.

The story of this road shows just how destructive corruption is as the roads that were meant to be completed are just as bad or worse now than they were before. Public money that should be used to improve the lives of ordinary Ugandans is being ‘eaten’ by big people trusted with its investment. And this in one of the poorest countries in the world. It is especially sad when so many people desperate for school fees, medical care or clothes should be betrayed by the people meant to help. It is sad when medicines are stolen from hospitals, when money for education is ‘diverted’ and money for refugees disappears.
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Corruption angers me because it undermines development. More than that, corruption undermines society.

Our vision for Uganda is to see a society developing and progressing with good, godly values to produce an honest, hard-working and creative society so that people see betterment in their situations. Corruption is one obvious manifestation of human brokenness that really makes life worse.

Posted by africraigs 13:17 Archived in Uganda Comments (0)

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