reality following the flash floods that did not only take the lives of 8 people, also washed away houses and bridges.
With 19 bridges damaged across the district when all the major rivers took to the center of madness. Nyamwamba River became the master of all as it damaged whatever it came across in its valley said to have been neglected for decades.
It was May 1, 2013 when the River burst its banks that had been weakened by aggressive human activity. With the destruction of Kilembe Mines Hospital and other developments in the valley, it also took away Kyanzuki Bridge that connects a residential area of hundreds of homes to the entire Kasese Municipality.
Kyanzuki an area that boasts of Kilembe secondary school-Kasese’s highly populated with an enrolment of about 1500 students, Kyanzuki primary school with over 700 pupils, Masule primary school and the
Park Trekkers a tourist guiding company. All these institutions have now been cut off from life because the only bridge to Kyanzuki is no more. Neither can one detect that there used to be a bridge.
A business woman in Kyanzuki who identified herself as Rachael Basimire now treks the nearby hills for about 5kms to reach Bulembia town ship where she jumps on a boda boda motorcycle to Mawa market in Kasese town to buy food stuff and palm oil for sale in the Kyanzuki market.
During the golden time, it used to take Ms. Basimire Shs. 1500 on a boda boda to reach Kyanzuki but currently to get those to carry the merchandise through the hills needs about Shs. 10000.
“There is no way people in Kyanzuki will avoid hard life so long as there remains to be no bridge. You see me passing through these hills to access Kasese town. But how will I come back with the food that I
am going to buy from Mawa market? Definitely I will have to increase the price for the Matooke and palm oil”. Ms. Basimire said on Saturday.
However, the Bakonzo have a saying that “Akathayihambirira sikalhwa Omwiya” meaning that a chick that does not toil hard does not hutch from the egg. Hundreds of men from Kyanzuki and the neighboring areas that have been benefiting from the cut off road hutched a plan at the weekend to open an alternative road that can be used only for motorcycles and pedestrians to move in and out of Kyanzuki.
This takes courage by men, local leaders and the Kasese Municipality MP James Mbahimba to get hoes, spades and other hand machinery to dig through the rocky Bunyandiku hills opening up a road that will link the area to the Kilembe mines fields where life can start from.
It takes another courageous journalist to reach the hill which the men are bisecting to make what had looked impossible possible. Walking from Katiri Bridge in Bulembia where all vehicles stop from these
days, is a 1hour walk to reach the men-young and old doing a communal work to reload life to their town.
One man identified as Baridi does not want me to take a photo of them digging the road before I also dig part but he is shouted at by the rest saying “this is a journalist coming to show our plight to the
rest of the world, he is doing his work now”. These men together with their leaders and the MP cannot stop working. They shout whenever a big stone is uprooted and rolled over downhill to the Kilembe Mines compressor area. What damage it causes there is none of their concern.
Mr. Headmon Mwanguhya one of the mobilizers said that the suffering people are going through in Kyanzuki is the reason they are forced to participate in the digging out on alternative road. He describes the life in Kyanzuki as “unbearable” because the trend of business has taken another twist.
Mr. Mwanguhya breaks down the prices of commodities in Kyanzuki after the collapse of the bridge. A match box is at Shs 200 from shs 100; a kilogram of sugar that has been at 3500 is at 5000, a candle wax of 200 is at 500 because the electricity is no more. This is the same to other commodities.
“So, we are here digging the new road to make sure motorcycles can reach Kyanzuki with hope that traders can reduce on the biting prices of goods. All traders are with us here on this work because the
consequences of the floods affect us all”. Mr. Mwanguhya said.
The area MP James Mbahimba rests his elbow on the hoe holder when his turn to talk comes. He says that if Kyanzuki continues to be cut off up to June, then the school life there will be a gone case.
“My prayer is that together with these hardworking and cooperative men, we chat a way that can take our students and teachers back to Kyanzuki especially Kilembe secondary school when the second term
opens late this month”. Mr. Mbahimba said.
According to the MP there are dozens of civil servants who have been residing in the comfort weather of Kyanzuki who need to go to work and may be shift their families from there but no way.
Although many other places in Kasese district were affected by the floods with about 1000 people in three settlement camps, other people forgetting about the location of their houses, life has become
unwarrantedin Kyanzuki parish where whoever wants to move out quickly would need to borrow the angels’ wings to do so. END