HRW Optimistic as Ongwen Pre-Trial Hearing Commences in The Hague

Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Executive Director Ms Allen Kagina has assured on a reformed contract management to ensure better roads.

While addressing journalists on Thursday at the Uganda Media Centre, viagra Kagina explained that the previous administration was marred with unethical behavior, ambulance corruption, more about poor asset management, failure to follow procedures all of which delayed road projects.

“The ongoing restructuring and reforms in UNRA are aimed at ensuring that we increase our capacity to manage contracts. We want to have the ability to construct at least 1,000 kilometers per year”

“Most of the contractors lack capacity to even construct a road but they go ahead and bid for a contract. This results into several administrative reviews.”

While addressing the issue of road projects whose funding by the World Bank was unplugged a few weeks ago, Mrs Kagina said that all hope is not lost.

She revealed that UNRA is sill engaging the World Bank to assure them that concerns will be addressed.

“The Fort portal – Kamwenge road project was cancelled due to social and environmental issues; child labor, defilement, road safety and poor treatment of workers. We should have coordinated better with NEMA and Ministry of Labor.”

She added; “Government will continue to work on these two projects and some money has so far been given by government. They will be under strict supervision. This indicates how critical it is to have better contract management and the need to consider community concerns.”


As a way of building internal capacity, UNRA is increasing its staff number and is in the process of recruiting about 500 staff mostly engineers in addition to procuring road construction equipment.

“I urge the public to apply for these positions but we especially need people with the right skills. We are working with an external firm to help us weed out those who don’t have the right qualifications.

The ED cited the Mubende – Karukumiro road which has been completed in only 6 months under the new UNRA administration. The same road had previously been stalled by as many as 4 administrative reviews which delayed procurement for 2 years.

Approximately 78,000kms road length have been constructed in the last 5 years, of these 20,500kms (26 percent) are managed by UNRA. 4000kms have been tarmacked/paved, 1300kms have been upgraded in the last 5yrs. 1700 are new construction 1400kms are due to commence this year

She noted that UNRA makes road maintenances of 17,000kms every 6 months but mentioned that the torrential rains have been a major hindrance.

“Most of our road maintenance projects have suffered deterioration due to rains. Some were washed away, culverts broken and bridges destroyed.”

Among the road projects completed are; Arua – Vula, Gulu – Atyak, Kampala Northern Bypass phase 1, Soroti – Dokolo, Lira – Pallisa, Kampala – Gayaza – Zirobwe, Kabale – Kisoro – Kyanika, Nyakahita –
Kazo, FPortal – Budibugyo, Hoima – Kaiso – Tonya and Malaba – Busia – Bugiri. The construction of the Aswa and Awoja bridges has also been completed.

The still ongoing capacity improvement road projects include; Kampala – Entebbe express way, Kampala – Jinja, Kampala – Bombo, Kampala Busunju, Kampala Northern bypass phase 2, Kampala Southern bypass and the Kampala Outer belt.

UNRA is set to commence the construction of fly overs at 6 junctions within Kampala. According to Kagina, the designs are ongoing and constructio will begin in December this year.

Other major projects are; Expresss way which will be completed by September 2017, Kampala Mpigi express way (4 lane super ways) is to begin in February, Kampala – Gayaza design to start in March and the Kampala Northern bypass phase 2 to be completed in September 2017.

The Kampala outerbelt will also start next month.

Among the roads still under construction include; Kampala – Entebbe express way, Kampala Northern bypass phase 2, Acholi – Gulu – Musingo, Atyak – Nimule, Kanoni – Sembabule – Bira Maria, Kyenjonjo – Kabwoya, Ntungamo – Mirama hills, Fortportal – Kamwenge, Moroto – Nakap, Mukono – Kyetume – Kayunga, Mbarara – Katuna, Mbarara bypass and Ishaka – Kagamba.

Road projects under procurement Rukungiri – Kihihi – Ishasha, Kapchorwa – Swam, Mubende – Kakumiro,
Hoima – Wanseko, Mbale – Nkokonjeru, Tirinyi – Pallisa – Kamonkori and Masaka – Bukakata.
The first major International Criminal Court (ICC) hearing for a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader which kicked off today is an important step for accountability for grave crimes committed in northern Uganda, approved Human Rights Watch said today.

The confirmation of charges for Dominic Ongwen, view a one-time child soldier who became a senior LRA commander, commenced on Thursday, in The Hague and is anticipated to last five days.

At the proceeding, ICC judges will determine if the prosecutor has enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

“The LRA is a notoriously brutal force that for decades has attacked civilians across a wide swath of East and Central Africa,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch.

“The ICC case against Dominic Ongwen is the first of its kind for LRA crimes and helps to show the ICC’s unique role as the global court of last resort.”

Led by warlord Joseph Kony, the LRA has committed atrocities against civilians for nearly three decades. The armed group has abducted tens of thousands of children for use as soldiers and sexual slaves and killed and maimed thousands of civilians in remote regions of northern Uganda, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

Ongwen himself was abducted as a child. Ongwen is charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in northern Uganda, where the group originated. Initial charges centered on alleged crimes committed as part of an attack in May 2004, on the Lukodi internally displaced people’s camp in Uganda.

In September 2015, the prosecutor indicated she was expanding the charges to include murder, torture, enslavement, and pillage as part of attacks on four such camps in Uganda: Pajule, Odek, and Abok camps, along with Lukodi.

Charges of persecution, sexual and gender-based crimes, conscription, and use of child solders committed in northern Uganda were also added.

There have been no trials involving charges of serious crimes committed by LRA fighters before any domestic or international court, though charges are pending against an LRA fighter, Thomas Kwoyelo, in Uganda.

The ICC has issued warrants for four other LRA leaders, including Kony. Kony remains at large, while the three other suspects are believed to have been killed.

In December 2009, troops under Ongwen’s command allegedly killed at least 345 civilians and abducted another 250, including at least 80 children, during a four-day rampage in the Makombo area of northeastern Congo.

This was one of the worst massacres during the LRA’s long, brutal history, Human Rights Watch said. According to available research, the LRA abducted Ongwen from northern Uganda into their ranks around age 10 and gave him military training. He rose to become a senior commander implicated in serious abuses across Central Africa.

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