President Yoweri Museveni has issued a rare apology to the family of Thomas Bukuru, a 71-year-old man who lost his life in an accident at the collapsed section of Kabale-Kisoro road in Rubanda district.
The road section first collapsed on May 4 this year due to heavy mudslides. This road serves as a crucial link between Uganda and Rwanda via the Chanika border, and DR Congo at Bunagana.
Initially, Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) had taken immediate action to repair the road, with the promise of completing the works within three weeks. However, work came to a complete halt after just one week when the workers left the site and removed all equipment. The remaining part of the road, still open for use, posed a significant safety risk to road users, including pedestrians, school children, and livestock.
Despite local outcries and appeals to Unra to resume repairs, no positive action was taken. Tragedy struck last Sunday, September 24 when Bukuru, a resident of Shebeya village, Shebeya parish, Hamurwa sub-county, Rubanda district, was fatally injured while returning home from mass at Hamurwa Catholic church.
He was struck by large stones and a trailer, registration number, RAF 5291/ RL 3794, traveling from Kisoro to Kabale, met another speeding vehicle heading in the opposite direction. In an attempt to avoid a head-on collision, the trailer swerved off the road, striking Bukuru causing him to roll down with the debris from the collapsed road. He lost his life on the spot.
During Bukuru's burial on Tuesday, local leaders and residents, including Teddy Tumwesigye, Hamurwa town council LC III chairperson, and Stanislaus Nyaraare, Hamurwa town sub-county LC III chairman, voiced their protests and accused Unra of neglecting the road works despite numerous appeals.
In response to the outcry, Henry Ariganyira Musasizi, the state minister of Finance, issued an apology on behalf of President Museveni to the bereaved family. He blamed the tragedy on the delays by the government agency in repairing the collapsed part of the road.
Musasizi also handed over compensation amounting to Shs 5 million to the bereaved family as a government condolence gesture to assist with funeral expenses. Additionally, he disclosed that the completion of the road requires Shs 3.5 billion and that Museveni has directed the Finance ministry to explore means of mobilizing the necessary funds.
The deceased is survived by 10 children, 54 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.