MV Ssese Awaits Approval to Start Work
The transport woes of Kalangala residents are far from over despite the introduction of a second ferry. Late last year, Kalangala Infrastructural services limited introduced MV Ssese to complement MV Pearl.
MV Ssese was meant to ease connection between Bukakata landing site and Luku landing site in Bugoma. Despite the fact that, MV Ssese has the same capacity like MV Pearl it lacks sanitary facilities.
On December 24, Kalangala Infrastructural Services took MV Ssese to Port Bell Luzira for inspection by the Transport and works ministry after sailing from Mwanza Port in Tanzania where it was built.
Even after undergoing inspection, MV Ssese has not yet rolled out the much needed marine transport services. The ferry is grounded at Bukakata landing site, which has drawn anger from residents who expected it to start work immediately.
John Opiro, the managing Director Kalangala Infrastructure services limited says MV Ssese will not start work until they secure an operational license from the Transport Licensing Board.
He says they have submitted all the requirements and await approval. Opiro hopes MV Ssese will roll out operations in February.
On Wednesday, a team of Kalangala District officials and residents inspected MV Ssese at Bukakata landing site. But Caleb Tukaikiriza, the Kalangala RDC was concerned that unlike MV pearl, MV Ssese lacks sanitation facilities.
Tukaikiriza wondered how the passengers would ease themselves in case of emergencies. The RDC said lack of toilet facilities would expose the ferry to poor sanitation.
But Opiro explained that they agreed to construct MV Ssese without sanitation facilities because they are not necessary. He argues that since the distance between Bukakata and Luku is short, there is no need for a toilet.
Tamale Mark is one of those waiting for the ferry to start work and hopes the arrival of the ferry will ease transport because he has really suffered connecting to Kalangala.
He recounts one day when they found the ferry gone and had to hire a boat to Kalangala only for the boat operators to reach in the middle of the lake and start demanding for more money.
Sam Sakwa, the officer in Charge of Bukakata Police station says they are providing the new ferry with security until it rolls out operations.
He has however asked government to speed up the process of licensing it. Sakwa says MV Pearl had become a security problem because passengers clash during boarding time.
He says the arrival of the second ferry would easy clashes amongst travelers since there is an alternative. Susan Kataike, the Works and Transport Ministry Spokesperson said she was not yet sure how far the licensing has gone.