Leaders in the western district of Kisoro have given government a two weeks ultimatum to have started working on the five tourism roads in the district that are impassable, short of which, the locals will be organized into a demonstration.
The leaders led by the Bufumbira South MP Sam Bitangaro say the five tourism roads of Kisoro – Nyabwishenya – Nteko, Nyabwishenya – Rubuguri, Kisoro –Nyarusiza – Muhabura, Mgahinga – Nteko and Karengyere Bypass; which government contracted to Civicon Construction Company are now impassable.
Several bridges, the leaders say, have been washed away and that tourists have no way of accessing Rubuguri, since the Nteko Bridge has been washed away, and the Rushaga –Nyanamo Bridge submerged.
This, they say, has affected the tourism sector in the area by cutting off Bwindi National Park, thereby affecting the businesses of various tourism players like hoteliers, tours operators and local people who use these roads for trade.
“The contractor has not shown us that he has met the task that he was given by government. This is not a serious company. They are giving excuses that their equipment is in Kenya and DRC; we want to see it in Kisoro,” said Bitangaro.
The leaders warn that these roads have started to discourage local people’s support to the ruling government which they have always voted religiously.
The concerns came out during the District Uganda Roads Fund emergency meeting that was held at the Kisoro district Council Hall and chaired by Bitangaro, who is also the Road Fund chairman.
Fidelis Kanyamunyu who owns Wagtail Tourists Resort in Rubuguri says tourism investors in the area are losing lots of money. He said some tourists are now being carried on the back by locals to access some of these tour sites.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Kisoro in Kisoro, which harbors 8 Gorilla groups, is a major tourist attraction in the country.
In neighboring Rwanda where infrastructure is better, they recently hiked their gorilla tracking permit to $1500 while Uganda, which has more gorillas charges only $ 600.
Davis Barungi who represented Civicon Construction Company admitted to their failure said saying that procurement dragged on for a long time, and that at the time the contract was signed, they had already taken the machines to DRC where they have other contracts, but said they are now mobilizing to bring them back.