Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Ugandans plant trees in potholes.

The state of some roads in Uganda's capital, Kampala, is so bad that protesters have planted banana trees in the middle of potholes. One campaigner says he saw a fish caught in one of the bigger potholes that had filled with water.
Now a politician is leading a campaign to get the roads repaired and says this is becoming a major issue for his party ahead of elections next year. Conservative Party leader Ken Lukyamuzi says corruption is to blame. He says money earmarked for the roads is not being spent, and when it is, the tarmac is too thin and disintegrates when it rains.
"When you hear sums of money related to what is going to be done, you just laugh," says Mr Lukyamuzi, whose party is one of the smaller players in Ugandan politics.
"These roads are done using the taxpayers' money," he says as he manoeuvres his car among the potholes. "People pay the taxes."
Mr Lukyamuzi says that quite aside from the number of accidents the potholes cause, there is a good economic reason to fix them. "You cannot do anything constructive in terms of trade," he says. "A lot of food which feeds the people in Kampala comes from very long distances. So, you have to address the roads."
He also laments the fact that the only way around them is to drive on the wrong side of the road. "I cannot, for example, abide by the rules of driving in Uganda, which is moving on the left side - I have to move onto the other side as if I was driving when I'm in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or France, or Rwanda. Can you imagine that? It is absurd."


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