By Eng Hans JWB Mwesigwa
This article is dedicated to His Excellency President Yoweri K Museveni. The writer explains how the dams and bridges being built on the Nile lack effectiveness, efficiency, economy and the equity for the nation’s overall strategic development. In other words, they require strict analysis of their Value for Money (VfM) as the requisite for empowering Ugandans.
As kids, whenever my late father the Revd Can Nasaneiri Bampabura announced to us the folk tale of the day, my elder sister and our self- styled spokesperson Jerurina Mpirirwe would request for a different one, the type she knew would make us laugh our heads off. It was about how clever hungry rabbit escaped from strong hungry and angry lion by luring greedy stupid fox into a maze. And when Dad asked us if it was the one he should tell, we answered in chorus, “Yes Daddy, that one!” And Dad would tell it by the fireside as our mother Merabu Bamwenegwire cooked the usual beans and sweet potatoes that often tripled for supper, breakfast and lunch. Unfortunately, mother would cut short the laughter and enjoyment by announcing that food was ready and father would promise to continue from where he left the next day.
So it is with my promised story, “The untold 8Ms of the Jinja Nile Bridge”! A chorus of readers’ voices of mainly technical professionals (engineers, transport economists, architects, surveyors, etc) and policymakers have asked for “the untold story of dams and bridges on the River Nile, wanting to know if they have VfM. So here I start, on the condition that we shall continue with the New Jinja Nile Bridge story only after this article, although part of the cable- stay bridge story will be discussed briefly.
The chorus of readers had two things in common:
Strong criticism bordering on anger at how Ugandan planners seemingly fail to look ahead but instead rubberstamp plans given to them by outsiders; and
A request that they remain anonymous.
8M Construction Digest strongly believes that the views and suggestions of these ‘voices in the wilderness’ need well considered answers from the President, Yoweri K Museveni himself, and his right-hand-men for the fundamental and grassroots development of our country. I therefore download as follows, in terms of the chronology of the bridges astride the River Nile in Uganda. The names used are fictitious to protect the identity of the sources.