Contemporary Issues in Uganda’s Development

Promoting Development through Improved Infrastructure (Road) 

Presented By: Francis Ojok, LLB, Dip. LP, MA, (LLM Candidate). Francis is a Ugandan-trained lawyer, experienced researcher, and peacebuilder. He earned a  master’s degree in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence from The Heller School for Social  Policy and Management at Brandeis University and is currently pursuing an LLM in  International Commercial Arbitration at the Caruso School of Law, Pepperdine University.

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This Article examines the importance of infrastructural development, i.e., roads in  promoting economic development of Uganda. To do justice to this topic, I examined: 1) the  importance of Road to the economic development of Uganda starting from the colonial period, to  now; 2) the current evolution of the Road project in Uganda, i.e., massive investment in Road  projects by the government; 3) At the end, I made some recommendations. I suggested them  concurrent to a particular challenge of infrastructural development, i.e., the Road sector. 

The content of this article is from both lived experience and desk research. I examined  statutes as well as other scholarly materials. Please note, this article is not complete. While  reading, I invite you to fill in the gap where necessary. If you so wish, I will be humbled to connect  with you on: or LinkedIn /

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1.1 Introduction Section 

Uganda is a landlocked country, located in the heart of East Africa is a country blessed with natural  beauty. Laying directly on the Equator it is lush, with thick tropical rainforest that provide a habitat  for Mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. Uganda’s forest is the primate capital of the world. The  country has mountains with permanent snow and ice as well as valleys that blossom with  multitudes of wildlife. It is covered by lakes, rivers, and swamps that provide a habitat for  numerous spectacular bird species. It is said that half of Africa’s bird species can be found in  Uganda. All year round, it receives enough rainfall and a warm climate which makes Uganda’s  soil very fertile. This makes it possible for Ugandans to eat fresh and organic foods, fruits, and  vegetables all year round (Sights & Sounds of Africa Safaris, 2019). 

The beauty of Uganda extends beyond her natural resources to the beauty found in its people and  culture. Ugandans are of diverse origin with 56 ethnic groups. Each group speaks a different ethnic  language (Third schedule, Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995). However, It’s Strategic  location in the pearl of Africa, and its abundance of natural resources would mean nothing if there  is no proper road network system linking different parts of the country with its neighboring  countries (Trivedi, 1971). 

2.1 Discussion Section

The discussion in this section shall begin from colonial period, up to the current day  Uganda. It will cover the following: 1) the need and attempt to construct a better road network in  Uganda, so as to promote economic development; 2) challenges poor road network post to  economic development of Uganda; and 3) contribution of improved road network to the economic  development of Uganda.

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2.1.1 During colonial period 

Even though there exist other means of transport, such as, air and water, they account for  a small percentage (Ministry of Works & Transportation, 2019). Since Uganda is a landlocked  country, the most reliable means of transport is by road (Hoyle, 1982). Thus, the need for better  roads. It was seen first by colonial masters and that is why in 1900, they entered into an agreement  with Buganda Kingdom under the kingship of Kabaka Mutesa II. It was known as the Buganda  Agreement. Buganda is one of the tribes in Uganda. The agreement makes it mandatory for every  able-bodied man to provide free service in maintaining and upkeeping roads in the administrative  center of Kampala, current capital city of Uganda, and other urban centers where there was active  trading (Mugambwa, 1987). 

The traders and settlers in Kampala and other urban centers were mainly British and  Indians. Indians came to the country to construct Railways and after, they settled and continued to  carry on trade (Dr. Kalenge). In 1902, British colonizers formalized their rules in Uganda through  the enactment of the 1902 Order in Council. It was in exercise of power granted to His Majesty’s  government under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act of 1890, to legislate with regards to foreign  territories of the protectorates (Kanyeihamba, 2010).  

Because of this law, i.e., The 1902 order in Council, the Legislative Council, was  established. Its purpose was to legislate laws for: 1) the protectorate; and 2) representation in the  legislative council. As a result, in 1926 for the first time a non-British legislator was appointed in  the legislative council. His name was Chinubhai Jethabai Amin.  

He became the first Asian to be appointed in the legislative council. The presence of Amin  in the legislative council is an important history in the economic trajectory of Uganda. He 

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advocated for complete monopolization of trade in urban centers, i.e., only British and Indian. His  advocacy resulted in the passing of The Trading Ordinance of 1930. The ordnance prohibited  Africans from trading within a radius of 10 miles of an urban center or township. The law pushed  most, if not all native Ugandans out of the urban centers into rural areas with no roads, if any then  very poor road networks (Hoyle, 1982). 

2.1.2 During the Post-Colonial period of 1962- 1986 

The period of 1962 marked a very important historical event in the calendar year for most  native Ugandans. Some of whom were the victims of the Trading Ordinance of 1930. That year,  Uganda was declared an independent nation (Tripp, 2008). At this time, the only fair roads in the  country were to be found in Kampala and other urban centers where: 1) the dominant settlers were  British and Asian; 2) all powerful businesses were situated; 3) Hospitals, Schools, and good  markets were also located there. 

Native Ugandans welcomed Independence with joy and celebration. They believed: 1) the  independent government shall construct roads that expand beyond urban centers. That will relieve  them from the challenges associated with poor or bad road network systems.(Kanyeihamba, 2010).  Some of those challenges include the following: 

2.1.3 The Post Independent Economic Development challenges due to poor road network In explaining challenges, the researcher will use an active voice. Because even though a  lot of things have been done to improve road infrastructure, and hence minimize challenges which  shall be discussed later. Those challenges exist up to date. With that being said, the following are  few challenges.

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Uncertainty, and High cost of transportation.  

The bad state of roads in post-colonial Uganda paused a lot of uncertainty during transit  from point “A” to point “B”. Some of the common uncertainties were in regard to how long it  would take to travel from one region to another(Hardon et al., 2007). Due to bad roads, sometimes  motor vehicles would get stuck for days. Especially during rainy seasons.  

Furthermore, transport vehicle owners charged travelers a very high amount of money. To  justify the high cost of traveling, vehicle owners argued that due to the poor state of the roads, it  shortens their vehicles’ lifespan. Therefore, to cover for that factor, and other uncertainties during  transit, it’s only fair to charge more than they would do if the road was good.  

These, and other factors discouraged a lot of Ugandans from traveling hence isolating  different regions and districts from opportunities such as: 1) schools; 2) markets; 3) hospitals that  were to be found in Kampala and other urban centers. 

Poverty and Unemployment.  

Uganda is an agricultural nation. Most Ugandans derive sustenance from agriculture  (Hardon et al., 2007). However, it should be noted that most Ugandan farmers if not all are to be  found in the rural areas. This is due to many factors, among which include: 1) being pushed out of  urban centers as a result of Trading Ordinance; 2) availability of open and fertile land for farming  in the rural areas, etcetera.  

However due to bad roads, farmers are unable to get their produce to the market. But in  case they risk transporting their goods to the market, sometimes perishable goods get rotten along  the journey. As a result, most farmers were discouraged from investing in cash crops and most of  the people in the villages resorted to growing food crops to sustain themselves and their families.  Thus, resulting in the escalation of poverty and unemployment (Makosa & Takayanagi, 2014).

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High death rate due to lack of access to: 1) hospitals & medical care; 2) road accidents.  Uganda is among the countries with the lowest life expectancy rate in the world. The most  affected victims are those in the villages (Kisa, 2017). Studies have shown that peasants, especially  those in the villages are most likely to die from disease that can easily be treated. This is so because:  1) some people end up dying on the way to the hospital because of poor states of the road; 2) due  to horrible states of the road they end up taking so long to reach hospital and by the time they get  to the hospital, the condition has already deteriorated beyond treatment.  

Also, Uganda is among countries with the highest cases of death due to road accidents. A  report published in 2017 indicates that over 9,572 people died in road accidents in that year. The  reason for it was among others included bad roads(Kisa, 2017). 

According to a report from the Ministry of Works and Transport, in 2012, Uganda recorded  a serious number of road crashes of about 13,137. However, there is steady progress. In 2014,  recorded numbers of serious road crashes reduced to 9,259. Also, in 2011, Uganda recorded 3,343  total cases of fatalities resulting from road accidents. However, in 2014, the number was reduced  to 2,845. This represented a 15% reduction. 

Increase in criminal activities 

In the villages, cases of lawlessness and rates of crime ranging from robbery, theft, assault  among others are on a very dramatic rise (Musisi et al., 2018). The arguments for the rise in crime  and criminal activities are to the effect that: 1) there are no police posts in the villages to monitor  law and order; 2) if the victim decides to report any criminal cases to police, the journey would  normally take at least 6 hours to get to the nearest police post (Goitom, 2018); 3) due to poor state  of the road, police are reluctant to travel to the village in pursuit of justice and if they decide to  take action, the journey may take so long to get to the scene of crime and by the time they reach 

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the scene, the suspect has already long gone and there cannot be trace due to lack of road  connectivity. 

2.1.4 The Road infrastructure revolution period by National Resistance Movement  government from 1986- to date 

Considering the aforementioned problems due to poor road infrastructure, the National  Resistance Movement when they took power in 1986, they came up with a 10-points program  agenda(Karugire,1980). It included poverty eradication through improvement of roads  infrastructure as primary driver to eco­nomic growth. With an aim to attain the country’s National  Development Plan II objectives, which include: 1) improved accessibility to markets and social  services; 2) reduced transport costs to stimulate production and competitiveness; 3) improved trade  and industrial growth; and 4) job creation (Mugoya, 2017).  

Since 1986, the Uganda government has prioritized road development. During the 15th  joint transport sector review, the Ministry of works and transport reported that in the financial year  2018/2018, the government approved an overall budget of (UGX Bn) 4,860.215. Out of which,  Uganda National Road Authority received 60.8% of the approved budget for external financing,  i.e., UGX 863.0bn out of UGX 1,419.10bn(Ministry of Works & Transport, 2019). By June of  2019, the actual paved road was 6,242.19 km. 

A lot of money is being injected into the building road network. In fact, in the financial  year 2018/2019, the government was paying 3.1 billion, Uganda shilling to upgrade 1 kilometer  road to paved standard with bituminous surface treatment. And 1.8 billion to reconstruct or  rehabilitate one kilometer of paved roads. The road maintenance needs for the FY 2018/19 were 

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UGX 1,807.2 billion. But UGX 512.24 Bn was allocated to road maintenance. This represented  28.3% of the annual road maintenance needs funded (Ministry of Works & Transport, 2019). The amount of money that is being put into the transport sector, specifically roads, has  raised arguments from both sides, i.e., those for and against. In that regard, I find it appropriate to  state that 95% of cargo freight in Uganda is moved by road network. As of 2018, Uganda’s  estimated road network is above 129,469 Km long. Of this, the community access roads constitute  50%, District roads 26%, urban roads 7% and national roads 17 %. Also, between 2010/11- 2014/15, the stock of paved road networks increased by 19.7% from 4,364 to 5,224 Km, and the  national paved roads increased by 21.7 % in the last 5 financial years (from 3264.1 to 3981 Km). 

2.1.4 Contribution of improved road infrastructure network to Uganda’s economic  growth and development. 

With all the aforementioned heavy investment on road infrastructure, it’s not surprising  that now there are beautiful roads coming up that justify the conclusion that there are dramatic  changes taking place in Uganda’s road infrastructure network that are worth noticing for its  contribution to economic growth/ development in the following ways. 

Market Access and reduction in the cost of transport. 

Before these serious road construction projects began, farmers in the villages didn’t have  any opportunities to bring their produce to the market due to bad roads (Mukiibi, 2010). Since  the beginning of these Roads construction projects, all different regions of Uganda have been  brought closer or one may say has been brought together because: 1) the journey from one region  to another that used to take days now takes hours; 2) the double charges by transport owners has 

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reduced; 3) uncertainties has be reduced hance farmers now have assurance of their produce  reaching the market when it is still fresh. 

Further, farmers also now have access to trade: 1) in any parts of the country; 2) in the  neighboring countries depending on their convenience and differences in price structures. This  access and variety of market options has motivated more Ugandans to invest in cash crops hence  increasing farmers level of income. 

Increase in employment opportunities 

Some scholars argue that road construction projects have provided employment  opportunities to Ugandans (Mugoya, 2017). Whereas they are right to some extent, I think clarity  should be given to this point considering the fact that technically most Ugandans employed in  these projects are 1) unspecialized; 2) casual workers. Employed on a temporary and adhoc basis  to perform petty tasks such as: 1) help dig holes for drainage; 2) carry logs; in some instances,  drive trucks used in the road construction. 

At the end of the day, those casual workers get a little over 3 dollars a day without any  form of employment benefit, i.e., insurances, paid leave, etcetera. To me that is exploitation and  it’s not a sustainable employment which leads me to questioning whether Uganda is rising at the  pace she ought to rise at? Assuming the answer is yes, the next question is for whom is she rising?  How is she rising? And I can only arrive at one main answer, NO. This is so because of the  following negative implication associated with these road construction projects, some of which I  mentioned above and others I will address in the policy recommendation below.

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3.1 Recommendations Section. 

Moving forward, we need to ask questions that have been ignored by: 1) policy and loan  negotiators; 2) project implementation committee and other agencies concerned with Roads  Construction Projects in Uganda. The questions are, 1) how much more loans should be borrowed  for road construction; 2) who is going to pay for these loans; 2) how will it be paid; and 3) how  shall Uganda move to self-sustenance without foreign funds and foreign contractors?  

To answer these questions, there is need to go back to the drawing table and put into  consideration the following policy recommendations. 

1. There should be an established effective team of technical personnel from the Ministry  of works and transport to perform regular and frequent supervision of road construction  work to ensure effective and efficient work.  

It is argued by multiple concerned Ugandans, that Uganda National Roads Authorities  either don’t have technical teams or they are just very reluctant to monitor and ensure road  construction work is being done with the highest degree of professionality required of the  contractors (Pomfret, 2006). Because of rampant and continuous negligence of contractors while  performing their duties. For Example, in 2012, residents of Mafubira Village on the Jinja-Kamuli  highway went on streets demonstrating over an impassable potholes and dusty road under  construction. They argued road constructors are doing nothing to: 1) cover those potholes; 2) spray  water to reduce dust; 3) work hard to complete construction within reasonable time. 

They say the road had spent many years dogged with potholes, and when the government  contracted a company known as “Dott Services” to work on the road, the company dug the road  and left it unattended for close to a year. That prompted the fury from those trading near the road,  and hence prompted residents that had to close their business due to dust to demonstrate. Uganda 

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National Road Authority noted that the 70km Jinja-Kamuli highway is just one of the many roads  under construction where they have received similar complaints from the locals (Imaka, 2014.). That in mind, if there existed a supervisory committee that frequently monitors these  construction projects, constructors shall be compelled to exercise the level of professionality  required of them which shall reduce unnecessary delay in construction, digging of holes and  leaving it unattended on the road for almost years. 

To make this recommendation a reality, there are some implication that come with it such  as: 1) lack of enough manpower; 2) lack of enough financial resources to facilitate smooth work  of the supervisory committee; 3) poor road network that might hinder easy movement of personnel  from the committee from one construction site to other. 

However, these implications can be addressed. It starts with internal restructuring within  either the Ministry of Works and Transport, Uganda National Road Authority and all other  stakeholders working in the road construction sector. This will cut down on additional expenses  associated with bringing new people to perform this task. Also, the government could outsource  technical personnel to perform this task and pay them on a case-by-case basis.  

2. Local Engineering firms should be given priority, if not; be included in the road  construction projects. 

The biggest funders of road construction projects in Uganda are: 1) China Development  Bank; and 2) World Bank. These funds are coming in under the guise of international tendering.  Wherein the World Bank has allocated more than $ 7 billion in the Sub- Saharan Africa with  almost $ 1.5 billion in road construction (World Bank, 1994; World Bank, 2009.1; Pomfret, 2006).  However, recently, Uganda has had a greater affinity to China because of Chinese technology and 

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money to fund road infrastructure projects. Studies have shown that each kilometer of the four lane expressway cost $9.3 million dollars (Namubiru, 2018).  

Aside from the foreign burden of debts Uganda is incurring on these roads’ projects, most  if not all actual road construction projects in Uganda are being done by foreign companies. Studies  revealed that on 48 national road contracts issued in the past decade, 70% of the funding went to  Chinese contractors and only 4% to locally incorporated firms (Namubiru, 2018). Yet, Ugandan  taxpayers are expected and obligated to pay these debts.  

Considering how much Uganda is indebted with loans, it is expected that Ugandans shall  pay the debts, their children and their grandchildren shall also be on the hook for a growing pile  of debt being used to build roads. But the local construction industry is neither getting a piece of  the action nor is it developing the capacity to maintain these roads (Namubiru, 2018). 

The engagement of local engineering firms will promote sustainability. The reality of the  matter remains that Chinese and Japanese firm constructors eventually when the project is over,  they are going to have to leave. But the question is does local firms have the experience to continue  the journey of fulfilling the pledge by the government to provide better roads throughout Uganda?  Or even to provide maintenance for these already constructed roads? As of now, the answer is No.  But I strongly believe when these local firms are involved in these projects, they shall acquire more  practical skills and experience that will position them to carry on the task effectively even after  these foreign contractors left.  

Even though this might seem to be an ideal and necessary move, it is important to realize  that: 1) At time local firms might lack the required advanced technologies and equipment  necessary for the work; 2) some local firms lack enough skilled and experience personnel, i.e.,  engineers and technicians; 3) restrictions on the borrowed money by lending countries and 

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institutions. According to a 2019 report from the Ministry of Works and Transport, Uganda  National Road Authority received 60.8% of the approved road construction budget in the financial  year 2018/2019 from external financing, i.e., loans from mostly the World bank and Chinese  government. In most cases, the lender of these monies dictates who should be awarded the contract.  Mostly in favor of constructors from the lending countries.  

Another important and mostly common implication is corruption. It influences: 1) who gets  to be awarded road construction tenure. It is said, government officials award tenure on the  understanding that they get a percentage of the construction price. Specific example was evidenced  when a Chinese construction firm CICO blacklisted over corruption and fraud by African  Development Bank got awarded three contracts in Uganda(Ssebwami, 2020); 2) what, and where  road construction material gets purchased from. Investigations have proved that government  officials in charge of procuring road construction material, would rather purchase cheaper and low  quality materials and equipment even though they have been awarded enough money to purchase  expensive and high quality material. Balance of which they pocket it (Mugoya, 2016.). Because of  corruption, Uganda is said to be spending more to construct a kilometer road compared to any  other country in East Africa. 

However, the government can overcome the implication relating to foreign funding  restriction. It starts with reducing over reliance on foreign funding. It has been proven time and  again that the government generates enough funding from revenue, which they could use to finance  road construction without borrowing. Relating to inadequacy of local engineering firms, thus can  be addressed by: 1) government awarding funding inform of low interest loans to local firms so  that they are able to purchased high quality equipment, necessary to put them in an equal bidding  ground for the award of construction tenure; 2) where a construct is awarded to a foreign company, 

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there should be a clause in the contract that certain percentage of qualified local engineers should  be consider by the company for employment in a managerial position. This will provide  mentorship, and opportunities to advance their skills necessary for consideration when awarding  tenure. 

Nobody is born corrupt. It is a learned behavior, influenced by environmental factors. We  can therefore unlearn that practice and create an environment hostile to corruption. It starts with:  1) holding accountable corrupt public servants; 2) arrest, prosecuting and imposing harsh penalty  on offences of corruption; 3) freezing individual assets acquired fraudulently with public funds; 4)  educating the public on corruptions and its implications; and 4) excommunicating corrupt public  official from the community. I know the latter is extreme, but I think it is necessary. 

3. Uganda National Road Authority should effectively engage into Private Public  Partnership (PPP) with private law firms, and accountancy firms for purposes of  protecting the individual rights to land ownership and interest over land. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda recognized that land in Uganda belongs to the  

people of Uganda. And that no person should be compulsorily deprived of ownership or any  interest in or right over land. Except where the taking of possession or acquisition of individual  land is necessary for public use.  

Based on that exception, many people were forcefully evicted from their land to pave way  for the road construction. Road construction projects affected even those that were not evicted.  Because they lost value of their land because construction materials were quarried from their land  making the land unproductive for agricultural activities.  

Even though the constitution recognizes that a person’s land can be taken for public use  such as road construction, that same constitution spelt out conditions which MUST be met prior 

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to compulsorily acquiring an individual’s land. It includes prompt payment of fair and adequate  compensation which must be paid prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property (Article 26 of Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995.).  

But as it stands now, road construction projects have tremendously violated this  constitutional right. In October 2016 for example, the Parliament’s committee on Commissions,  Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises recovered UGX 26.3bn meant for compensation of  Projects Affected Persons (PAPs) from five (5) Chinese road construction companies working on  different road projects across the Uganda (Mugoya, 2017).  

When Uganda National Road Authority was confronted with this issue, they did not dispute  it. However, they admit the violation occurred because they involved 3rd party (Chinese  contractors) to handle compensation.  

Foreign contractors are not fit and proper people to handle this matter because not only did  these contractors lack both legal and cultural knowledge to handle this matter, but they also speak  a very different language which makes communication with peasant, local Ugandans next to  impossible.  

Therefore, to avoid this form of violation of constitutional rights, Uganda National Road  Authority (UNRA) should effectively engage private public partnership with law firms that  understands both the legal and cultural dimension of things like this. It is also important for  accounting firms to be involved in order to calculate a fair amount to be paid in compensation  before a person is evicted from his land. 

There is already a major argument about high cost of road construction, and limited  resources, i.e., finance. Engaging in PPA requires more money. Therefore, lack of adequate  funding may hinder this implementation. Furthermore, out of the over 700 law firms in 

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Uganda(Mulengra, 2020), there are just a few specializing in PPP. This is also true for over 500  licensed accounting firms(The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU),  2019). Therefore, lack of specialized training on PPP laws and regulations could hinder this effort. 

However, it does not mean because there are few PPP specialized firms, they should  not be considered all together. It is important to award contracts and support the few  existing PPP firms. If adequately empowered, they can do magic. Furthermore, the  government can consider promoting and advancing training in the area of PPP. 

There should be an established committee of inquiry within the constructing  governmental institutions that shall administratively investigate irregularities and illegal  cases against road constructors. 

As it stands now there are a lot of irregularities surrounding foreign contractors, mostly  from china. There are two categories of Chinese constructors involved in road construction  projects in Uganda. The first categories being those under the Chinese government, and the other  categories are private Chinese constructors. These two categories of constructors have different  interests which should be put into consideration.  

Regarding private Chinese construction, their interest is almost exclusive to making as  much profit as possible. To ensure maximization of their interest, some of them went as far as  involving in illegal investment, such as sand mining, (Oziga, 2018), and Ivory smuggling. In 2014  for example the allegation was made by the president of Uganda about a Chinese who collaborated  with Ugandan officials and smuggled 1.3 metric tons of Ivory out of the country. (Kuo, 2017) 

Also, there was an operation conducted by security personnel. It was discovered from that  operation that there are between 10,000 and 50,000 Chinese in the country. Dozens were found  without any legal documentation. In one Chinese camp, the majority of Chinese there were found 

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without either work permit or passport (Conor, 2017). I believe if such a committee was formed,  these irregularities would have probably: 1) not existed in the first place; or 2) controlled before it  was too late; 3) mitigated in a more proficient way. 

The parliament of Uganda is carrying out some of these factions already. However, their investigations are limited to the concerned ministries, and it does not extend to the contractors.  Even when Parliament finds irregularities and illegalities done by the ministry, there is no adequate  and substantial action taken because: 1) Parliament does not have an effective enforcement system;  2) they lack independence from the executive branch of government. As a result, Parliament’s  findings are either influenced or buried by the executive. 

Furthermore, the concerned ministries lack capacity to implement this recommendation  because of: 1) inadequate skilled human resources; 2) inadequate financial resources; 3) lack of  continued training on areas of laws that may be a useful tool for implementation; and 4)  ambiguities in the language of contract between ministries and contractors. 

The aforementioned obstacles could be remedied. It starts with drafting clear terms of  contract. If expertise to handle this task is an issue, the ministry can outsource. Furthermore, it  might also be necessary to make internal staffing restructuring, i.e., creating a committee within  the ministry to take charge of this task, and assigning already qualified persons working in the  ministry to perform the task. This will cut on the issue of costs associated with bringing in new 

employees to perform this task. Then, the ministry should also emphasize on continued learning  for their employees executing this task. 

4. Engagement of all stakeholders in Roads’ construction projects.

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The power and authority concerning roads construction projects rest almost exclusively  with Uganda National Road Authority. However, the centralization of power has proved to be  ineffective when it comes to effective presence on sites.  

Therefore, if the power of controlling road project is decentralized to involve all  stakeholders such as the local government of the districts where construction is being done both at  district, sub county and county level, there shall be more presence of authority on sites that shall  improve the productivity of the project and minimize cases of both illegal, negligence and  irregularities in the Roads construction projects. 

While engaging all stakeholders, i.e., Uganda National Road Authority, Ministry of Works  and Transport, Ministry of Local governments, etcetera is an ideal move, one should be conscious  of factors that might hinder this move. It includes lack of adequate coordination between  stakeholders, weak government policies, i.e., in regard to enforcement and corruptions. It makes  individuals in charge to create a system that will make it easier for them to personally steal, misuse,  and embezzle public funds meant for road construction. 

However, this is a minor challenge which can be overcome. It first starts with discouraging  corruption by all means. Then creating an effective coordination system, i.e., digital platform to  keep up to date with all stakeholders. Most importantly, road construction projects should be  decentralized, with local governments empowered to play an active and direct role in supervision  of roads projects in the districts while reporting progress to the central government. This will create  an atmosphere of inclusiveness, and responsible sharing.

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5. Community education about laws that govern employment of children.  Studies revealed that there are a lot of children employed as casual workers in road  construction projects throughout Uganda. According to the constitution, anybody below the age of  16 is a child. He or she is entitled to be protected from social or economic exploitation. The  Constitution barred children from being employed in or required to perform work that is likely to  be hazardous or to interfere with: 1) their education; 2) to be harmful to their health or physical  development; 3) mental or spiritual development; and 4) moral or social development(Article  33(4) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 ).  

For clarity, child labor is defined under section 2 of the Children Act, to mean work that is  mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to a child, and the circumstances  under which it is performed jeopardizes the health, safety, morals and education of a  child(Children Act, 2016). The children working in road construction are doing so contrary to the  rights guaranteed under the laws of Uganda( Johnson, 2005). Because those work interfere with  their education, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.  

A lot of children are working in construction because of poverty. They are vulnerable to  accept any work to earn enough to survive even though that means being exploited. And at the  community/ village levels people actually don’t know that it is illegal to employ or engage a child  in any activity that may be harmful or hazardous to his or her health, or his or her physical, mental,  spiritual, moral or social development(Children Act, 2016). Some children working in construction  are below the minimum age of employment of a child, which is 16 years. 

Since those construction work exposes children to: 1) physical or psychological torture; 2)  manual handling or transportation of heavy loads; 3)work with chemicals and dangerous 

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substances; 4) work under extreme temperatures; 5) high levels of noise, or working for longer  hours, they are by law considered “harmful or hazardous employment”(Children Act, 2016). In order to avoid this from happening, Uganda Road National Authority should make it a  policy to educate the community about rights of child workers, procedural requirements for  employing children and the information about child rights be made available to community  members at all levels with a number they can contact in case they see any form of child  exploitation. Also, constructors before awarded projects to construct roads must be educated on  those laws as well and have them signed to be bounced by it. 

During the early days of the National Resistance Movement, which is the ruling party in  Uganda, they preached grassroot democracy. Under this agenda, the governance was to take a  bottom-up approach. However, with time, the government departed from this agenda. Which has  resulted into poor relationships and lack of trust between central government and local community  members. Inadequate mobilization, coupled with lack of trust might hinder effort to implement  this recommendation. Also, another problem is associated with lack of commitment by the citizens.  This is because most community members are just fighting to survive. Furthermore, inaccessibility is another factor that might hinder implementation. Remote parts of Uganda are classified as hard  to reach areas, with no electricity, telecommunication network and poor road network. Thus,  affects transport, communication of personal/trainers, and community members, and hence a  hindrance to implementation. 

However, it is possible to adequately address these challenges. It can be done through: 1)  educating community members through FM radio network communication; 2) going back to the  grassroot democracy principles, i.e., work on trust building, empowering community leaders, such  as local council ones with knowledge and skills so that they can take charge of educating their 

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communities; 3) community work mobilization. This used to be a thing when I was growing up. I  witnessed community members come together and they collectively clean water well, roads,  etcetera. So, with proper mobilization, and empowerment, hard to reach community members can  take charge of their community.

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