Sunday, August 28, 2011

Radio One Journalist and others die in Motor accident

Sunday, August 28,2011 I got back home at night after attending Funeral Rites in Kamuli. Shortly after arrival I had mention of an accident that had claimed one on spot as a result of a lady driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road contrary to the norm. Early Monday morning,I learnt from CBS Radio Buganda that a former employee at the station who has been with Radio One had died after the accident where the cause had been driving on the wrong side of the road. It is very sad. I thanked God because I had come back arrive in one piece. Uganda needs to do much more as regards the road carnage. Many drivers are the cause of these accidents. It is not easy to imagine that a driver was nearly asleep that he caused an accident or nearly caused one. How can someone enter Uganda and then is able to drive on the wrong side because he or she is used to driving on a certain side of the road.Much needs to be done to see accidents reduce.
May the good Lord grant Henry Ssemwanga eternal peace.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka


A funeral service for four Ugandan sportswriters who died in a road accident on the Kampala-Jinja road. The four, Kenneth Matovu, Simon-Peter Ekarot, Leo Kabunga (The New Vision) and Francis Batte (The Monitor) - were returning from Jinja where they had gone to raise money for the Ugandan Sports Press Association. (Pic by Morgan Mbabazi) .
Two prominent musicians in the late 90s, at the peak of their careers, perished on Masaka road... and some blamed it on witchcraft!
By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: July 7, 2006
Road carnage is rated among the fastest killers along with HIV/AIDS in Africa today and Uganda is no exception. At least a good number of fatal accidents befall citizens while on our roads and the disturbing fact is every year the police release an increased number in road accidents. Whereas some of the accidents are solely the responsibility of drivers, bad roads and other unforeseen factors play their role. Is there anything that can be done to reduce this grave problem?
This country has lost a lot of important citizens due to car accidents yet still no tangible action has been taken to reduce them. The late Attorney General Francis Ayume, Brig. Toko, Jay Tanna- former youth MP for Eastern Uganda, scribes Kenneth Matovu and his colleagues have all perished on the Jinja-Mbale highway. So have other prominent Ugandans who have perished on Masaka road. Two prominent musicians in the late 90s, at the peak of their careers, perished on Masaka road... and some blamed it on witchcraft!

Posted on Thursday 1 April 2010 - 11:38
Muhyadin Ahmed Roble, AfricaNews reporter in Nairobi, Kenya
At least 400 children, mostly pedestrians, die in road accidents in Uganda every year, the Minister of Works and Transport has announced. 46% of those injured road accidents are urban children and it is twice the percent of falls and burns added together, according to the Injury Control Centre of Uganda report.
Another 1,200 people are severing with serious injuries in road accidents every year.
The ministry has said that this report makes children the most vulnerable to road accidents.
The numbers of road accidents are increasing each year, despite numerous government measures to reduce them. The road accidents in Uganda have killed about 21,807 people since 2000 while other 120,121 people are victims of accidents.
Engineer John Nasasira at the Ministry of Works and Transport said accidents were becoming as dangerous as malaria which kills an estimated 320 people in Uganda every day.
“In Uganda, road accidents have become a scourge equally of concern as HIV/Aids and malaria in terms of claiming lives and we need to do something before it’s too late,” Nasasira was quoted by local media.

Wednesday, 5th March, 2008
By J. Namutebi, C. Musoke and J.Odyek

UGANDA has the highest number of people dying in road accidents in the Great Lakes region, Parliament heard yesterday.
“Whereas the road carnage situation is appalling in most sub-Saharan countries, Uganda is rated the worst among countries in the region,” said Nathan Byanyima (NRM), the chairman of the committee on physical infrastructure.
“There is need for urgent Government intervention to address the situation.”
Statistics from the Police show that the deaths rose from 778 in 1990 to 2017 in 2004 while road accidents rose to 18,092 in 2006 from 5,674 in 1990 and are bound to increase if unchecked, according to a special report of the committee.
But the figures for the other countries in the region were not given.
Kampala and Wakiso lead in fatal accidents, with 12 to 20 deaths recorded weekly along Entebbe Road particularly at Kattambwa, Mildmay Centre and Kawuku, Byanyima said.
He attributed the accidents to reckless driving, speeding, careless pedestrians, overloading and disregard of seat belts.
Others are motorists using mobile telephones while driving, poor road signs and poor mechanical conditions of the vehicles.
The report adopted by Parliament noted that the country loses sh333b annually due to the accidents.
Undue influence and political interference, Byanyima noted, had obstructed the traffic Police from ensuring road safety for all users.
But the MPs asked the Bukanga legislator to name the people who had stopped the Police from implementing the regulations on speed governors as he had stated. He did not give any names.
The suspension of sections 108 to 111 of the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998, which deal with fines for reckless driving, had created a vacuum in the law, according to Byanyima.
“The Government wants to formulate policy regulations to improve road safety but major stakeholders like the Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association and motorists have de-campaigned the proposesd regulations,” he said.
The traffic Police, he added, should be empowered to de-register vehicles in dangerous mechanical condition and the courts mandated to cancel licenses of bad drivers.
The committee gave 21 recommendations including the need for a law requiring all motorists to be subjected to compulsory tests before they are issued with driving permits or before the permits are renewed.

Monday, 24th November, 2008
Karooro Okurut

It has been a tough time last few days for Members of Parliament and, indeed, for the whole country. First, Isingiro Woman MP, Vicky Kyaka Kyokuhairwa and her sister-in-law, died in an accident on the Kampala-Masaka highway. Vicky was returning to Kampala after attending her husband, Dr. James Ireeta Kyaka’s graduation at Nkozi University, when tragedy struck.
As I write, Dr. Kyaka is fighting for his life in Mulago Hospital. At least three people died in that accident with 10 or so others injured. Vicky’s departure is that of a brilliant young politician with the world at her feet and a bright future ahead. She was a simple person who got along with almost everybody; and we in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) loved her mobilisation skills. By all means, a person and politician we shall miss.
While we were still coming to terms with this, tragedy struck big time against outspoken, happy-go-lucky Rubanda West MP Henry Banyenzaki. His three sisters, Alice Ryabamazima, Mangadalena Kagwa and Angela Arigye, and a brother-in-law Matia Mulumba (Arigye’s husband) died as they returned from the burial of another of the legislator’s sisters (Winnie), when their car crashed into a trailer at Rubaare, on the Ntungamo-Kabale road.
Banyenzaki apparently received the news as the plane was taxiing; preparing to take off from Entebbe Airport, but, of course, could not cause it to stop. He had to endure the safari to Paris, and then the agony of boarding another plane back, barely in his senses.
The family had to endure the pain of burying husband and wife first, then the other sisters next. Just the kind of thing that you do not want to so much contemplate happening to your family.
Many other people, almost 20 within the last four days, who were admittedly less known perished on Uganda’s roads. This is part of a greatly disturbing trend, which I will call Uganda’s new genocide. There is no better name.
Going by Police statistics, Uganda has the highest number of people dying in road accidents in the Great Lakes region, which includes Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. A report presented to Parliament early this year suggests that the deaths have been rising steadily, from 778 in 1990 to 2,034 in 2004, while road accidents rose to 19,528 in 2006 from 5,674 in 1990.
The parliamentary committee on physical infrastructure noted that the causes of road accidents are reckless driving, careless pedestrians, overloading, drivers’ error (we really ought to improve our driving!), use of mobile telephones as people drive and poor road signs.
Other causes include conditions of the vehicles, weather and political interference.
Over sh333b is estimated as the cost of accidents in the country annually—cost of vehicles, medical bills and loss of income and property.
Following that report, the Police pointed out one other cardinal problem: most of the highways and city roads are in shambles and that the works ministry must refurbish– and widen–all the roads countrywide. There is a critical issue here; when you have roads that are narrow, vehicles are vulnerable to head-on collisions, especially along the highways where people drive at high speeds.
Head-on collision where one or both of the vehicles is at high speed is more or less impossible to survive. And a keen look at most of the grisly accidents will tell you that it has all to do with head-on collisions.
Uganda seriously needs to embark on making her trunk roads, especially the major highways that cross the country, dual carriage ways. Head-on collisions are well-avoided when you have dual carriage ways. This will, of course, be expensive; but when you compare with the loss of life that is being occasioned at present, all the money invested in would be a small price to pay for saving lives.
Lastly on this issue, as a practising Christian, I believe there is a spirit of accidents that needs to be exorcised. A recently-released Shell guidebook on black spots in Uganda says the Busitema-Malaba Road has the least — just three spots. Kampala-Jinja-Busia Road has the most — 32 black spots.
It is followed by Kampala-Masaka Road, 24, Kampala-Gulu with 21, Kampala-Mubende, 19, and Kampala-Hoima 17. There is also the Jinja-Kamuli Road with 14, Karuma-Arua, 12, while Kampala-Entebbe, Mbale-Soroti, Mukono-Kayunga and Kampala-Fort Portal roads each has 10 black spots. Masaka-Mbarara, Kampala-Mityana-Mubende and Jinja-Iganga each have nine spots.
Granted; but there are places without any black spot about them where spectacular accidents take place, with people dying freely. That tells you we should not close our eyes to the spirit world and activities therein. We need to mount prayer altars everywhere, lifting up the country to God to reverse the status quo.
My heartfelt condolences go to the bereaved families at such a time as this, especially those children who have lost one or both parents. I pray the Lord strengthens you. Let us also join hands to pray for Vicky’s husband and the other injured people who are fighting for their lives in hospital; that the Lord will quicken their bodies to complete healing.

A literary and socio-political analyst

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