Uganda-DR Congo Border in Crisis as Mpondwe Bridge Collapse Paralyzes Traffic

KASESE-Traffic across the Mpondwe-Lhubiriha border has been paralysed after the Mpondwe Bridge that connects Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo collapsed, leaving people, especially the business community, stranded.

Anonymous sources that spoke to our reporter today said the bridge had already shown lines of weakness sometime back but efforts by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to have it fixed were not sufficient.Patrick Juma, a truck driver, revealed that they have resorted to using an alternative route adjacent to the broken one although its capacity can only allow passage of pedestrians, boda-bodas, and small vehicles.

Bwambale Miraji, a boda-boda rider, said they are at risk of being knocked by the heavy trucks that have resorted to using the small bridge but also stressed the challenge of congestion which leads to delays.

According to Lt Maate Magwara, the deputy Resident District Commissioner in charge of Bukonzo County, the bridge collapsed after continuous vandalism by unruly residents searching for scrap some months ago and the increase in the volume of water caused by the recent heavy rains.

He revealed that UNRA officials had been alerted already to put up an alternative bridge that will keep the heavy trucks moving since they carry merchandise to and from the DR Congo to keep the hopes of the business communities alive, with a few days to the festive season.

In an interview with our reporter, Allan Ssempebwa — the UNRA spokesperson, revealed that they have a long-term solution of putting up bigger box culverts at that section that will effectively support the drainage systems, adding that this plan has been in the pipeline and that the contractor has been identified to have this work done.