By Jacob Okwii.
Uganda National Roads Authority has finally yielded to pressure and handed back works for Mbale-Tirinyi road to contractor, Dott Services. Allen Kagina, executive director, UNRA confirmed to journalists that UNRA had rescinded their earlier decision to terminate the contract with Dott Services over alleged poor quality work and delays in delivery.
The disagreement between the two, sucked in President Yoweri Museveni, who initially had invoked his presidential powers to terminate and blacklist Dott Services from any contracting in Uganda, in a widely circulated letter. In a protracted business mêlée, Dott Services run to President Museveni to explain their case last year. And their appeals seem to have fallen to the president’s right ear. Later in 2017, the President wrote to revoke his earlier presidential directive on Dott Services, arguing that there is need to build capacity of local companies for which they should be cut some slack. He also argued that he had been unaware that Dott services was also involved in electricity dam construction.
Following the termination of the contract between UNRA and Dott services, the road works stayed in abeyance. For some time it has been a political concern as demonstrations and strikes were staged by neighboring communities on the stretch of the road owing to the increase in the number of accidents that occurred on the road and the inconvenience by the dusty stretches.
The move by UNRA to cancel the contract also drove Dott services to court contesting the manner in which the contract was terminated and seeking reinstatement of the contract to complete its works.
Kagina told journalists that the authority premises the reinstatement of Dott Services on them withdrawing all the suits before the courts of law brought against UNRA.
At the time of cancellation of the contract, UNRA said that Dott services had only completed less than 20 percent of the works, against the expected 94.5 percent.
Earlier, UNRA had procured a new contractor, China Civil Engineering and construction Corporation (CCECC) to continue with the works, following the cancellation of Dott Services’ contract.