BWIRE: Busia roads a disgrace to the nation
By Victor Bwire
The level of neglect shown by the authorities in Busia town both national and county government on managing the national transnational highway to Uganda, failure to even establish an industrial park or simply a parking zone for the trailers and enhance cross border security is unforgivable.
The ministry of interior and coordination of national government should intervene and have the town cleaned up, order in the parking of the trailers and mend the highway as a matter of urgency, otherwise, such good projects as the modern immigration infrastructure put up to enhance cross border trade and movement is a waste and irritation to our country.
To the County Government of Busia, there is no reason to leave the town in such a mess; and where even where you claim is not the responsibility of the county government to deal with the transnational highway, you have a responsibility to petition the relevant public agency to rehabilitate that road. Not sure where the idea of the dry port ended but the town can surely do more than its doing currently.
It’s simply embarrassing for citizens in the Busia, and government officials when, the level of response and maintainance to destruction of public goods like highways, roads is so glaring on the Kenyan side when similar facilities on the Ugandan side are so well done.
How do our neighbors view us when, for example we are working on inter country projects like the Kisumu Port project, one border stop immigration projects, the improved fish trade project among others when we show this level of neglect of our common social services?
The highway has remained a one track depleted structure for the too long, I can only imagine what reasons the Kenya National Highway Authority gives for such level of neglect of a valuable transnational infrastructure.
Ignoring the otherwise county government that has invested in exposing the citizens to ridicule from the Ugandan neighbors through failure to match the standards in Busia Uganda town, the national government and relevant public agencies should use whatever existing legislation and resources to save the country from further embarrassment.
The impact of climate change seen through the adverse effects of weather which has seen most of the country get more than enough rainfall including floods calls for a relook at some of the devolved function. Disaster planning and mitigation in the country has been to be prioritized especially by the national government, otherwise the loss of lives, destruction of property and infrastructure across the county is unacceptable.
Studies have shown that intra-regional trade in Africa is constrained by inadequate hard and soft market and trade infrastructure and deficient policy and institutional frameworks for these lead to high transport costs, unpredictable trade regimes and inadequate market information for the stakeholders and high cost of doing business.
Concerned about the low level of intra-regional trade, the African Union Heads of State and Government, during their 23rd Ordinary Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2014 committed themselves to triple, by the year 2025, intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services.
This cannot happen if border points are neglected they way has been.
Similarly, the neglect of such border towns like Busia would explain the reluctance by Kenya to sign, ratify, accede and deposit the African Union Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (the Niamey Convention) that was adopted in June 2014, with the aim of promoting peaceful resolution of cross border disputes and catalyse the growth of the continent.
The Convention requires border countries to invest in infrastructure and social services to improve the lives of the citizens along the borders.
And by the way what is the status of existing devolved funds including CDFs, Fuel Levy, Roads Levy, rural electrification and public agencies such as Kerra, Kura, Kenha, among others. The state of roads in Samia sub-county is despicable.