KAMPALA – Members of Parliament – MPs have called for massive investment in public transport in order to reduce road carnage.
According to the legislators, all countries that have invested heavily in public road infrastructure have reduced pressure on public roads – curbing road accidents.
The call was made during a meeting held between members of the Parliamentary Forum on Road Safety and civil society group-Centre for Policy Analysis – CEPA at Parliament on Wednesday.
“We have clear regulations that bar bodabodas from carrying children below 12 years. A bodaboda is supposed to carry one passenger, but aren’t we seeing some carrying five passengers?” noted Sarah Opendi – the Tororo district woman MP.
“The truth is that we have not prioritised road safety in this country -we only make noise when somebody dear (to us) has died, but after burying, we forget,” she added.
Robert Kasolo – the Iki-Iki County MP blamed key stakeholders for failing to prioritise road safety in Uganda.
“We need to throw in our weight and say enough is enough, this road safety issue must be handled like any other epidemic. We must rise up and say considering the numbers that perish on the roads, we must handle this issue as an epidemic,” said Kasolo – claiming that road safety had been stifled by the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development.
“Parliament has internalised the issue of road safety but the Ministry of Finance does not understand it completely. They have allocated road safety only Ugx600m …You really see this is peanuts and even what has been allocated in the budget may not even be released,” he said.
Napak Woman MP Faith Nakut said that if government had established a robust public transport system, citizens would not be risking their lives in mechanically-impaired vehicles and risky bodabodas.
Quoting a recent survey, Godfrey Mwesigye – the Manager Research and Documentation at CEPA said on average, 45-70 victims of road accidents are received at Mulago National Referral Hospital on a daily basis.
The 2022 Annual Crime Report by Uganda Police Force reported a 42 per cent increase in the number of crashes from 12,249 in 2020 to 17,443 in 2021.