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Why Ugandans shouldn’t celebrate Museveni’s infrastructure

Mr Yoweri Museveni and his publicists are telling Ugandans how they have constructed the Entebbe Expressway, Karuma and Isimba dams and now the Source of The Nile bridge.

What they do not say is that all these projects are funded by loans, which will have to be paid back by Ugandans, not Mr Museveni and his NRM party. If Ugandans used a “value for money audit” to evaluate the cost of these projects, they would pick sticks and flog the politicians.

Comparative economics requires that we compare our projects with similar projects in other countries. Karuma and Isimba dams are estimated to produce 780MW at a cost of $2.8 million per megawatt, making a total of $2.2bn. 

Lesotho constructed a dam of 6,000MW at a cost of $800,000 per MW, totalling to $4.8bn. Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam, the largest dam in Africa, produces 6,450MW costing $991,633 per MW, totalling $6.4bn.


If Uganda used the ($800,000) unit cost of Lesotho to produce the 780MW, we would only pay $624m and save $1.57 billion (this is assumed to be eaten). We would even double our production to 1,560MW and still have a balance. 

If we used the higher unit cost of Ethiopia ($991,633), the 780MW would cost Ugandans only $773.4 million and save $1.4 billion (assumed eaten). If Uganda was to construct the Lesotho dam of 6,000MW using the Ugandan cost, it would cost the taxpayers about $17 billion instead of the $4.8bn the Lesotho taxpayers parted with. 

If Uganda was to produce Ethiopia’s 6,450MW using the Ugandan cost, taxpayers would pay about $18.2 billion instead of the $6.4bn the Ethiopians paid. Let’s look at how much is paid in the roads. 

Entebbe Expressway is 53km with four lanes. About $9 million was spent per kilometre, which brought the total cost to $476 million. Kenya’s Thika Highway is 50km long, eight lanes costing about $7.2m per kilometre, with a total cost $360 million. 

If we used the assumed balance, we got from using the Lesotho cost of constructing a dam ($1,576bn), we would have another four-lane highway of 174.9 kilometres. That is the road distance from Entebbe to Bugiri.

If we used the balance from the Ethiopia cost, $1.426bn, we would have another four lane highway of 159km. That is the distance from Kampala to Kalisizo towards Mutukula. If we decided to use the Thika highway cost of eight lanes costing $7.2 million and factor in our Lesotho unit cost balance of $1.576bn, we would have a 220km eight-lane highway. 

If we used the Ethiopia balance of $1.426bn, we would have a 200km eight-lane highway. These distances would cover Kampala - Gulu highway. If Kenyans were given the money spent on the 53km four-lane Entebbe Expressway of $476m, they would have constructed a 66.1km, eight-lane highway! 

If they were to have a four-lane, they would have 120.2km instead of Uganda’s 53km! As Ugandans struggle with skyrocketing Yaka bills, Ethiopian domestic consumers will not pay for the power they use. The majority of Ugandans will not be able to drive on the “pay as you drive” Entebbe Expressway, while Kenyans will drive for free on the Thika highway in Kenya.

One wonders why the Shs 2.5bn Luweero-Rwenzori project is supervised at a cost of Shs 33bn. The other day, Mr Museveni opened the $125m four-lane Source of the Nile bridge ($100m loan from Japan). It is 525 metres long and 52.9m wide.

Shanghai’s Napu bridge costs $119m. It’s a six-lane highway, 8,346m long and 46m wide. Nigeria’s Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge in Lagos is a four-lane dual carriageway highway, 1,357 metres long, 8.0mx2 carriageway (width) bridge and 2.3mx 2 walkway, streetlights. It cost $79 million.

In all these countries, where the above bridges are constructed, there are reports of corruption. The difference here is how much is stolen vis-a-viz the quantity of work done.

Museveni’s told Ugandans that about 90 per cent and 67 per cent labour and supervisors respectively who worked on the project were Ugandan. Most raw materials were sourced locally. At least $25 million from Uganda’s government was to compensate those whose land the bridge was to occupy. Who owns land on River Nile?

He also talked about the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), but this too is another expensive white elephant. Railway engineers inform us that it would be much cheaper to upgrade the existing rail tracks from British standard to German standard, replace bends with longer curves (to allow for higher train speeds) and upgrade rolling stock (locomotives). This would achieve the SGR objectives of carrying heavier cargo in a shorter time over the same distance at a much reduced cost.

What is unfortunate is that most of these projects are financed by poorly negotiated loans. Generations will hustle to pay back these loans yet most of the money is eaten by the “fat cats.”

Oh Uganda, May God uphold thee.


The author is the deputy secretary general, Forum for Democratic Change.


+1 #11 Akot 2018-10-25 15:58
Immaculate Nambi, agreed, yet,

Without tribal leaders standing down & the tribalistic system shattered, there will be no common opposition leadership! So Museveni is going no where, especially as tribal leaders look up to the demon for hand outs in obedient silence, ensuring the inhuman divisive system stands firm & Musevni stays on!

Museveni will only tighten his grip on Uganda & it's people & will just go on!

I wonder why Musevnei has not yet brought Acholi tribal leader to live in servants' quarters to serve him coffee/tea..., at least he would be payed for doing something!

Why are Ugandans slaves in a world where people UNITE & rise up to bring chage of leaders?

Why don't Ugandans see/know they MUST throw Museveni out or he will just go on?
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0 #12 Akot 2018-10-25 16:06
Lakwena, agreed!

See how poor abandoned South/Central Americans are making their way to USA for better life!

Even United Nations is blaming USA for these people's miseries, while not saying a word about useless governments they are running away from!

It's the people, through UNITY for common purpose, that make their stand or even UN will say nothing about who is responsible for their miseries, while UN respects the useless rulers people are running away from!

Ugandans must really wake up, if they want Museveni out!
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0 #13 Akot 2018-10-25 16:12
Quoting sulaiman:

For sure Uganda is under occupation. Ugandans need to struggle to repossess their country.

Uganda after the occupiers needs a non partisan transition govt to reconfigure everything in governance.

30 years of thieves in charge is a long time - we have no country as of now.

Already Museveni is determined to destroy KCCA just the same way he destroyed UCB, UTC etc.

Uganda needs God intervention


God helps those who help themselves, forgives those who ask His forgiveness!

The UNITY that made Acholi stand down is the UNITY needed to throw Musevni out & is is long overdue!

Museveni MUST be stopped in UNITY or he will go on using Ugandans against one another, our people will fight one another for posts, but the demon will just go on finalising conquest of territory!
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0 #14 Jama 2018-10-26 02:19
These thugs robbing the Ugandan economy ,should understand that nothing is eternal on earth neither will they go to the grave with their loot.If they will not be judged on earth for their robbery,in the hereafter they will respond to their acts.

Meanwhile their children will bear the curse from the crimes committed by their parents.
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0 #15 Fuller 2018-10-26 18:54
Good job Harold!

With all the overpricing to the benefit of the corrupt regime, still work is done in a shoddy way.

Karuma: One section collapsed days after Uganda's Despot-for-32-Years had "opened" it.

Entebbe Highway: "Opened" (at least) 2 years before completion, before final inspection.

Also, another point:

How about the Magamaga Army "vehicle assembly plant" the Despot-for-32-Years "opened" a while back?

It actually is a welding workshop -- trucks arrive from South Africa assembled, UPDF just welds some screws, installs tires and sprays over scratches.
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+1 #16 kabayekka 2018-10-27 03:20
With such incriminating information about the misuse of bank loans the next government of Uganda has all the rights to ask for a reduction on the payments.

Banks must have the right to investigate how such important loans are being used on these national projects and be able to make their financial projection reports as well.

The citizens of Uganda must not be taken as zombies in these national projects when it comes to loan payment.
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