Lands, Housing and Urban Development Minister ,Hon. Judith Nabakooba has commissioned construction works for Pope John Paul II Road along St Joseph’s Cathedral in Gulu City.
The Gulu city road will be constructed under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project led by Dr. Isaac Mutenyo. Tarmacking of the 1.61km road- is now set to commence under USMID -a World Bank funded program- running under the Lands ministry.
In 2016, President Yoweri Museveni promised the people of Gulu that the road would be upgraded to fit the city status that Gulu now enjoys . Nabakooba who was received by the City’s woman legislator Betty Awol Ocan, St Joseph Cathedral Vicar General, City heads and security at the ground breaking -called for transparency in the multi-million shillings project execution.
She tasked the city authorities to use whatever avenue available to them especially the media to always update people about the status of the project at all times. “Use all channels available to give the people of Gulu information relating to the Program; its status, costs and where you expect their input. Once the people understand the program and what is going on, you can be assured of their support and cooperation and a very fertile ground to operate in,” she said.
“Since you, plus the other 13 Local Governments are pioneers of the USMID program, I know that you are already acquainted with the program expectations, and the indicators that will enable you make it, like you did in the first phase, : Nabakooba stated and reminded the city leadership that the USMID Program, closes in December 2023. “This means we have only 2 and a half years ahead of us, to complete all our plans. Will we be in position to finalise in time? That is the question I leave with the leadership of this City. “
She underscored the role of urban development in terms of physical planning for the city to retain its prestige. “You have good plans on paper but implementation. Let the regulations be followed, let whoever wants to build have a plan. You should educate the people that this is good for their region.”
Thanking the minister for her resilience and field-based kind of leadership, Awol said she is confident the implementation of projects under her stewardship will be executed on time and of good quality.
“You are a very hard working woman and you make us proud as women. I call for your intervention in land conflicts in our Acholi sub- region because they are a big issue which need to be handled by government under your ministry .Land is being sold by young people even when their elders have not consented to the transactions,” the former Leader of Opposition in the 10th parliament said.
Awol requested the Minister to use her ministry and help them find means of reducing land conflicts in the region. “We need a lot of attention in this area to steer economic growth to enhance wealth for the people.”
In her response, Nabakooba urged the people to make use of the call centre on the Toll Free line 0800 100 004 she set up at the Lands ministry to report all land related concerns They have . “I wish to encourage all the people of Gulu City to call in and report any cases relating to the mandate of my Ministry at the center and also the Ministry Zonal Office located here in Gulu. Please tell us how we are serving you. Both good and bad areas of concern should be brought to our attention. It is then that we can serve you better.”
According to Mr Alfred Okwonga, the Mayor of Gulu City, the commissioned road was a request by the Cathedral in 1993 when Pope John Paul II visited Uganda. He explained that the government then promised to take on the responsibility of tarmacking the road even when Pope Paul had returned to his country. He however expressed concern on the fact that the road will be short of 1.km to reach Gulu International Airport and called upon the contractors to throw in that little bit for the City as a thank you bonus.
“We thank the government so much for putting us in this program, this road will open the region to so many opportunities and development. It is therefore our pledge that since the contractor will be giving some thank you to the city, he could perhaps finish up the remaining kilometres to the airport.”
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