In a bold and dynamic move to revitalize Jinja, Uganda’s second-largest city and a key player in the Busoga region, local authorities have launched a comprehensive road construction initiative. The primary aim of this undertaking is to enhance the city’s transportation network, which has long been plagued by potholed roads. The launch of this critical project marks a significant step toward addressing the concerns of residents, who have voiced their frustrations about the city’s road infrastructure. During a vibrant ceremony held at Clive Road East in the heart of Jinja, key figures in the city’s administration officially flagged off the construction of roads in both the city center and surrounding suburbs.
The event featured the active participation of several prominent figures, including Mayor Peter Okocha Kasolo, City Clerk Edward Lwanga, Resident City Commissioner, engineers, local leaders, and technocrats. These individuals collectively endorsed the commencement of road construction. Among the notable roads earmarked for transformation are Bell Avenue East and West, Busoga Avenue, Clerk Road, Clive Road East, and several other proposed roads within Jinja.
Jinja, formerly known for its bumpy and neglected roads, has undergone a substantial transformation since its elevation to city status in 2020. Mayor Peter Okocha Kasolo, a representative of the National Unity Platform (NUP), praised the government’s commitment to providing financial support for infrastructure development within the city. The funds for this critical endeavor have been allocated under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructural Development (USMID) program, with Jinja receiving a notable share of 39 kilometers in the financial year 2023/24.
Mayor Kasolo, who took office as the city’s inaugural mayor, acknowledged the challenges the city faced due to inadequate recognition before 2022. He attributed the city’s previous low funding allocation to misguided assessments based on population numbers. Traditionally, government project funds are determined by the number of residents in a given area.
“Government didn’t fully grasp the geography and circumstances of Jinja until 2022 when I was invited to Masaka to discuss new road construction initiatives. I highlighted crucial details about Jinja’s unique significance, which prompted the government to increase the allocated funds for the city,” emphasized Mayor Kasolo.
City Clerk Edward Lwanga lauded the Zongmei Construction Company Limited, the firm tasked with overseeing the road construction projects, for its transparency and commitment to delivering high-quality results. He highlighted his own proactive measures in instituting order and cleanliness in Jinja. These measures included relocating street vendors and taxi stages, which had previously congested the city’s streets.
Henry Kitambula, the Deputy Resident City Commissioner for the southern division of Jinja, issued a stern warning to anyone considering the misuse of these newly constructed roads. He expressed concern over practices such as burning tires on the roads during festive seasons and the dumping of garbage in the drainages.
“We will not tolerate the misuse of these roads, especially considering the substantial investments made by the government. Historically, our roads have deteriorated due to blocked drainages, filled with litter and waste. We are committed to enforcing proper road utilization,” emphasized Kitambula.
The comprehensive road construction project in Jinja represents a significant stride toward transforming the city’s urban infrastructure. As the city continues to evolve, its residents and leaders are determined to create a more accessible and vibrant urban landscape.