SECRET TRIP: Inside M7’s Private 1,000km Drive


cialis 40mg geneva; font-size: small;”>In a letter to Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, buy information pills Museveni reveals the best and worst roads during his trip to Agago through western Uganda back to Kampala.

The contents of the letter paint a picture of an investigative President who pays attention to detail as he exposes all poorly constructed roads.

Museveni admits someone must be stealing money in the road sector, a reason some of the roads are in a worse state.

“How can a budget of Shs 1.2 trillion per annum fail to work on Masindi-Hoima-Kagadi-Kyenjojo road? Which murram road is more important than this one in the country? – A road linking the North and South of Uganda?” he wonders.

“The fact that such a road is in such a bad state raises serious questions about the integrity of the planners in that area. If the main direction roads were well maintained and it was only the subsidiary ones that had a problem, then, one could credibly talk of resources.”

Below is the verbatim letter published by The Observer.

In his six-page letter, which reads more like a newspaper travel article, Museveni describes his personal experience driving on some of Uganda’s best and worst roads. Below is the letter in full:

Recently on the 3rd of February, 2012, I deliberately and without warning decided to drive for over 1,000km on Ugandan roads instead of using helicopters or fixed wing planes.

I was in Kisozi on the 2nd of February, and I had geographically widely dispersed activities to perform on the 4th, 5th and on the 6th of February: celebrations in Agago on the 4th of February, commissioning of the Army week activitiesí in Kasese on the 5th of February and then Tarehe Sita celebrations in Kasese on the 6th of February.

I decided to drive from Kisozi, through Kifampa – Kanoni turn towards Mityana through the Banda-Manyi Road drive through Mityana town towards Sekanyonyi-Busunju and at Busunju drive through Kalege-Kapeeka-Namusaale-Nakaseke and Wobulenzi.

It was pleasant to find that all these murram roads have been upgraded recently and they neither had serious potholes nor corrugation which is very irritating to travellers. The disappointment, however, was that it was just grading but there was no murraming or compacting.

It was all loose dust. I am sure as soon as it starts raining in March, it will all be muddy and impassable. The runoff water (omutunga, mukoka alele etc) will also carry away the loose soil and gulleys (not merely potholes) will develop.

Why doesnít the ministry of Works put murram on and compact at least certain parts of these roads having taken the trouble to grade them?

At Wobulenzi, I hit the repaired and very smooth Kawempe-Kafu road. It is very smooth and you drive very well and comfortably all the way to Kafu bridge and slightly beyond, except for one irritation – the so¨ called road humps.

These are, in fact, not road humps (eibango, eihambira) because humps are smooth but raised sections of the road, to slow down the speed of drivers but not to rattle (kuchunchumura) travellers.

What are called humps are multiple corrugations across the road, more or less like the corrugation found on ungraded murram roads but this time put on tarmac roads by the inconsiderate people of the Ministry of Works through road contractors.


These corrugations, being misnamed as road humps, should be, gradually, phased out and be replaced by real road humps. Across the Kafu bridge, the tarmac road is ageing but quite smooth. The edges of the tarmac road are eroded.

Therefore, when vehicles are coming from opposite directions, one is forced off the tarmac road and kicks up dust that interferes with my practice of opening the roof of my car to enjoy the clean natural air when I am on a good tarmac road that does not generate dust.

This is a practice I had given up, even in Kampala, on account of the mismanagement of the roads in the city, until the regime of Musisi.

Even where the roads were tarmac in Kampala, by not eliminating or managing mud and dust from the shoulders of the road (the edges), tarmac roads would, practically, become like murram roads generating so much dust.

That is why, I used to joke that the Kampala city ‘mismanagers’ had succeeded in the Rwakituranization of Kampala.

Dust should be in Rwakitura but not in Kampala. The worst areas were Ndeeba, Nateete, Kansanga, Bwaise, Kawempe. I, however, now notice that there is little or no dust on some of these otherwise tarmac roads.

I do not know what Musisi has done. Is it sweeping off the dust in the night or has she repaired the shoulders (the pavements, the edges)?

There is the question of badly designed tributary murram roads, like those which feed into Entebbe road. Why should murram roads be allowed to parachute into the tarmac roads at 90 degrees almost – perpendicularly? Where that happens, with the run-off water (omutunga), all the mud is swept onto the tarmac road and when it dries, it becomes dust. Back to my road journey, I was happy to note that Kafu-Karuma road is still smooth for much of the way except for the erosion of the edges.

Through my Aide De Camp, I checked with the Minister of Works what plans they have for that section – all the way to Gulu. He said, they are re-designing and will soon advertize for tenders. We must look for the money for re-construction. Across Karuma bridge, we turned left towards Chobe Lodge. The road there is narrow but well murramed and smooth. Chobe Lodge has been renovated and expanded. It has been nominated one of the best tourist spots in the whole world. It is magnificent.

The nile

The Nile is flowing below the Lodge as it always did. I had visited the old Lodge in 1979. It is now much better. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) should expedite the construction of the swimming pool and the golf-course. I do not want to hear of any more delays on these two. I had to adjudicate on these two issues. Some conservationists were saying that it was sacrilege (sacurireego – ekichumuro, eihano) to have these modern items in a conservation area. This is vulgarizing conservation. Conservation is a business.

We need to attract clients and retain them for a long time. You cannot retain visitors for five days or more watching the same animals they saw on the second day following their arrival. With golf, however, being such a good exercise, rich pensioners can stay for long periods in those isolated spots. Let us inject rationality into conservation. After a nice night at Chobe Lodge surrounded by snorting hippopotami, I resumed my road journey towards Agago at 1000 hours (10:00am).

Through the narrow but nice road, I hit the Arua junction. I love driving on the fabulous Karuma-Arua road because of its smoothness and beautiful landscape. That day, however, Arua was not my destination but Agago. The section of the road between Karuma and Kamudini has been repaired. It is very good. There is even a new trading centre between Arua junction and Kamudini that used not to be there before. Somewhere near that trading centre on the right as you face Gulu somebody has developed quite a sizeable shamba of oranges.

They looked very nice, showing how under-utilized much of Uganda is on account of a big portion of a non-productive middle-class, who spend a lot of time in bars eating pork and galloping pints of beer, cheered on by a disoriented press dishing out trivialities and falsehoods. At Kamudini, I turned right towards Lira and the road was excellent. It has been repaired using Uganda Government money. It is the same money that repaired the Bwaise-Kafu road that I have already talked about as well as the Karuma-Kamudini section.

Big cocks were once eggs’ (n’ezikokolima gaali maji), we say in Luganda. The Uganda Government is now able to fund many infrastructure projects using its own money, i.e. not depending on donors, at least for these projects. At Lira, we turned north, travelled on a short section of a tarmac road that used not to be there up to near and beyond Ngetta hill. At Ngetta hill, we turned North East towards Apala.

Here, we entered a bad section of the murram road. This section was the laboratory of a bad road – everything bad was there: deep potholes, corrugations, exposed rock outcrops (enkiri) on the road etc, etc. It was very bad driving up to a place called Obim. There, the road improved a bit until we encountered a very bad section on the northern side of Moroto bridge. After a little while, the road improved, we turned near Adwari towards Barlegi, passed Odokomit, Patongo, all the way to Agago.


Here, the road was good, but not well murramed. We arrived, I think at 1400 hours (2:00pm), having used four hours to drive from Chobe Lodge to Agago. Much of the time was wasted between Lira and Obim. My question was: “Is there somebody responsible for this section of the road?” Is it the Local Government or the Ministry of Works? If there is somebody responsible for such a major road, linking Lira with the new district of Otuke and also with Kotido, he cannot fail to get a solution.

The story of lack of money is not credible. Some of the sections are not that long but very crucial in blocking the road. Those rock outcrops (enkiri) in the road can be blasted with dynamite and produce very good gravel for hardening those roads. Even road gangs can be used to repair sections of that road. Isn’t lack of care and lack of supervision the main problem?

We had good celebrations at Agago where I scored 62 percent in the last elections while previously I used to score 18 percent. (Apoyo lwak me Acholi pi bolo kwir maber (Thank you, the people of Acholi, for voting well).

We also uprooted the leader of the opposition, Prof Ogenga Latigo and won the Chairmanship of the District. My people talked of the use of the helicopter to head for Kasese. I told them, ìNo way.

We shall go by road. I left Agago at 1700 hours (5:00pm), again through our Apala-Obia-Lira road.

By 2100 hours (9:00pm), we were at Kigumba where we turned off the Kampala road into the Kigumba-Masindi road.

Here, we changed drivers to get fresh ones who had come from Kampala. We did not want dozing drivers. It is all right for passengers to doze and even snore.

It is fatal for drivers to doze. After changing the drivers at a school just outside Kigumba, we hit the Kigumba-Masindi road, which was good – no potholes and good murram, it seemed although it was at night. We drove for a short time on the excellent Kafu-Masindi road because it goes through Masindi town towards Hoima.

After the tarmac road, we entered on to the Masindi-Hoima-Kagadi- Kyenjojo road. Many sections of this road were very bad. Everything bad is there: corrugations, potholes, depressions, etc.

Yet not every section is bad. Some stretches are good or reasonable. However, by not dealing with the bad sections, the whole road becomes terrible.

Only those sections after Kagadi seemed to have been worked on. Otherwise, the road was very bad. By the time, we reached Kyenjojo at 0300 hours (3:00am), it had been quite an annoying experience.

This is a major road. Why should it be in such a condition? I need a plausible answer to this. Could one of the problems be the ‘cancer’, of using private contractors who consume so much money? Why doesn’t the Ministry of Works do these jobs itself so that our major cost is fuel, spare parts for the machinery and feeding for the staff in the fields? These staff can even stay in tents if we do not have money to keep them in hotels.

UPDF stays in the grass-thatched huts (mama ingia pole). What is the responsibility of these groups to their parents and countrymen?


At Kyenjojo, we hit the excellent Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal road, entered Fort Portal at 0400 hours (4.00am). We refueled our vehicles at Shell Fort Portal petro station, drove along the Kasese road, on to Katunguru road and turned off at the Mweya junction, arriving at Mweya Safari Lodge at 0630 hours. We had taken 13 and half hours to drive from Agago to Mweya, a distance of 642km or about 400 miles. If we had maintained a decent speed of 40 miles an hour, it would have taken us 10 hours to reach Mweya. We would have been there by 0300 hours (saa tisa za usiku).

Of course, this is a very conservative speed. We, however, could not, on account of the Lira-Obim sections and the entirety of Masindi-Hoima-Kagadi-Kyenjojo road – major roads but not attended to, to the chagrin of the citizens.

We give the Ministry of Works Uganda shillings 1.2 trillion per annum. This is a lot of money. It may not be enough. However, that cannot be the main problem. It seems the main problems are poor planning, lack of careful use of scarce resources, lack of supervision and banishment of corruption.

How can a budget of Shs 1.2 trillion per annum fail to work on Masindi-Hoima-Kagadi-Kyenjojo road? Which murram road is more important than this one in the country? – A road linking the North and South of Uganda?

The fact that such a road is in such a bad state raises serious questions about the integrity of the planners in that area. If the main direction roads were well maintained and it was only the subsidiary ones that had a problem, then, one could credibly talk of resources.

Finally, I need a functional supervisory system by the Ministry of Works staff overseeing the so-called Central Government roads. As for Local Government roads, we are going to equip each district with a road unit so that they work on their roads by direct labour, without the parasitic contracts.

There are what we call zones in the NRM structure. These are the old colonial districts: Kigezi, Ankole, Tooro, Bunyoro, Masaka, Mubende, Mengo, Busoga, Bugisu, Sebei, Bukedi, Lango, Acholi, Karamoja, West Nile, Madi, Kampala and Teso. Can you not establish a supervisor in each of these zones so that she /he supervises all the Central Government roads in the zone?

I need a response to this.

Yoweri K. Museveni



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