MARACHA. Locals around Ryini box Culvert Bridge in Nyadri sub-county, Maracha district have blamed local politicians for the shoddy works undertaken on the bridge under their watch.
The culvert bridge on Agiidri-Koyi road was swept away by running water immediately after completion last year thus enraging the locals.
The locals were further incensed when a primary two pupil from Midria primary school drowned in the same spot. Although the pupil is said to have drowned while swimming with peers, locals soon took to putting up temporary pathway across the stream to avoid more damage.
"I have never seen a bridge been swept immediately after completion like this! The contractors were left to do their work without supervision, how long will they take to commit the contractor to redo this project?" Mr David Atrici, a resident of Padaa village wondered.
He blamed the district officials responsible for failing to monitor the project properly before clearing the contactor to be paid.
Mr Fred Abale, 46, from Anzevu village said due to the broken bridge, farmers find it difficult to transport their produce to the market. He also asked the district engineering team to blacklist the contractor.
"The engineers who constructed this bridge intentionally laid the foundation on a sandy soil to save money, I feel they should not work anywhere at all again because they are cheating us", Abale stressed.
Mr Kasto Gabriel, a resident of Anyavu village, Robu parish and father of the child who drowned in the stream urged his area residents to vote out politicians who he termed heartless and behind the engineers doing the shoddy works.
During a council meeting on January 29th 2020, works and technical committee gave a report seeking to investigate the irregularities and ways of temporarily restoring the collapsed Bridge.
"By the time the committee sat, we saw the quality of work and the type of materials used was not the value of the money spent, so the committee recommended that investigation should be done", Ms Josephine Inzikuru stated.
West Nile Web was reliably informed that UGX 1.5million was approved by the council for an emergency pathway on the stream after the culvert was swept away but only UGX 705,000 was used.Nyadri sub county councillor Mr William Drimbaku blamed the engineering department for being reactive and only after the community had risen to start emergency works on their own.
"Why should we act when someone dies? The engineers went on ground after hearing that the communities on the fateful day are constructing the Catwalk Bridge for which the council allocated some money, the engineering department gave the money later as compensation but it was less". Drimbaku stated.
The councilor for Oleba sub-county Mr Charles Waga called on the Resident district commissioner (RDC) and the district internal security organisation (DISO) to investigate the alleged irregularities.
"There is no value for money for all the bridges which are constructed under force on accounts, culverts constructed by our engineers have collapsed because the works are not done by the right people, the engineer who has qualified in civil engineering is building bridges and his work is given to the road engineer", Waga explained.
Ms Edisa Amaniyo, the female district councillor for people with disability said the Engineers in the district do not have the heart for the district which explains why most of the local bridges were collapsing.
The district chairman who doubles as the secretary for works and technical services Mr Lawrence Adiga said the recommendation was clear admitting that the work was bad and the implementation of the contract needed to be investigated.
The engineering department recently claimed that most of the bridges in the district were collapsing because of the nature of soils and human activity.
However an attempt to get a comment from Mr Timothy Ezati in the engineering department proved futile as he declined to answer our repeated calls.
The deputy CAO for Maracha district Mr Stephen Edema who has stayed longer in the district declined to speake to us on phone about the matter but refered us to his supervisor who also said he was too busy by press time to comment about the matter and hanged up.