KIKUUBE— MPs from Kikuube district have raised concerns over the increasing traffic accidents caused by trucks belonging to Hoima Sugar Limited (HSL).
These remarks were made by Francis Kazini, the Buhaguzi area MP, and Florence Natumanya, the Kikuube district Woman MP, during a special council sitting organized to pay tribute to the fallen male district councillor for Kikuube Town Council.
It was reported that Councillor Nyakoojo Biraali died in a road accident after his vehicle rammed into a stationed numberless tractor that was parked by the road side loaded with sugarcane.
The incident is said to have occurred in Mairirwe village, Buhimba sub-county, along Hoima – Kikuube – Kagadi – Kyenjojo road as the deceased was moving from Hoima heading to Kikuube district.
According to eyewitnesses, the said tractor was heading to the sugar factory in Kiswaza village Kiziranfumbi sub-county when it got a mechanical problem and the driver was forced to park it along the roadside and the councilor was heading to his home on the same route when his vehicle rammed into this tractor and he died instantly.
The death of Councilor Nyakoojo follows several other accidents reportedly caused by drivers of Hoima Sugar Limited. The most recent one being the LCI Chairperson of Ikoba village in Kabwoya sub-county, Julius Byenkya, who lost his life while and Joab, a staff of Kikuube district local government was the casualty.
On that note, Hon. Francis Kazini demanded for the enactment of a bylaw to guide in the regulation of all trucks carrying sugarcane in the area.
The Executive Director of the Land code Initiative, Richard Muganzi, observed that while private investors may contribute to the Social- Economic development of the country they ought to ensure that the impact of their business operations do not undermine the human rights and freedoms of the local people in the host communities.
He added that the Landcode Initiative is now conducting a community-based human rights impact assessment on large scale business projects in the area so as to identify such issues, propose responses, and engage government and/or corporate actors towards eliciting commitment to take necessary remedial action. He further explained that many communities affected by private investments around the world are oftentimes disempowered by governments and companies to the extent that their concerns are worryingly underrepresented or even misconstrued.
He warned that reliance on existing company-led impact assessments can also leave the company exposed to a number of hidden and nascent human rights issues that may develop into significant business related risks (including legal, financial and reputational) for the government, company, its investors and shareholders in the future. He underscored the need for large scale investments to safeguard the right to a clean and healthy environment, a dignified life, cultural identity, basic public amenities, land, personal safety, and freedom of expression.
They also faulted the law enforcement agencies since many of these vehicles have no reflectors or lights yet they also move at night which makes it easy for them to cause accidents. Francis Kazini lamented during the special council sitting that “If you go and inspect the tractor that killed our fellow councilor where it is parked, you notice it did not have any lights, reflectors, or number plate. How can such a tractor be allowed on our public roads? I often find these tractors moving at night without any lights and the drivers instead use small torches for lighting their way” Kazini expressed.
It is alleged that several other accidents happened in 2019 and 2020 but they were concealed from public scrutiny. It can be recalled that, in August 2021, still 6 people died after a vehicle reg. no. UAT 096V lost control and later parked at Waaki river which borders Masindi and Hoima districts.
The eyewitnesses reported that truck was carrying sugarcane cutters to Masindi from Kisebegwa village, Kyabigambire Sub County in Hoima district. Kinyara Sugar Limited made a press release on dated 16th August 2021 stating that the truck belongs to their service provider.