OpEd, Politics

The Dismal State of Road Infrastructure in Juba City: A Critical Look at the Misuse of Revenues

By Gama Hassan Oscas

Juba City Council, along with the national and Central Equatoria state ministries of roads and the independent roads authority, are entrusted with the task of providing essential services and infrastructure to the citizens. However, the dismal state of road infrastructure in Juba has raised concerns about the efficient use of the substantial revenues collected in the city. Despite the high revenues, little progress has been made in tarmacking and opening new roads since 2016. This opinion piece will critically examine the current situation, particularly focusing on the lack of attention given to road development and the suffering endured by residents in highly populated areas such as Gudele.

Juba City generates significant revenues from various sources, including taxes, fees, and business permits. The question that arises is: Where is this money being utilized? The lack of visible progress in road development and infrastructure projects over the past few years raises doubts about the transparent and effective allocation of these funds.

Gudele, a heavily populated area in Juba City, is a prime example of the city’s road congestion woes. Despite the huge revenues collected, residents of Gudele continue to struggle daily with their commutes due to inadequate road infrastructure. The only tarmac road connecting Gudele to the rest of the city is insufficient to cater to the high traffic volume, leading to severe congestion and endless traffic jams, especially at the notorious Bwoba road junction.

Such daily suffering for residents highlights the lack of adequate planning and execution of road projects in the city. The failure to expand and upgrade the road network is a glaring sign of negligence and poor governance, leaving citizens to question the efficiency of city council and the relevant ministries in serving the public interest.

The state of Juba City’s roads points to a larger issue of mismanagement of public funds. With substantial revenues at their disposal, city council and the responsible ministries must be held accountable for the inefficient use of these funds. It raises concerns about transparency and the proper utilization of taxpayer money, which should be directed towards projects that improve citizens’ quality of life.

One cannot help but question whether these institutions exist to serve the citizens or merely to provide employment for their staff and ministers. The lack of progress in road development and infrastructure projects reflects poorly on the commitment of these institutions to their core mandate of public service.

For a city to thrive and progress, transparent and accountable governance is crucial. The responsible authorities must be open about their budget allocations and expenditures, providing citizens with a clear picture of how their money is being used to improve their lives. Transparent governance helps build trust between citizens and their government and fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability.

In addition to transparent governance, citizen participation in decision-making is vital. Citizens must be actively involved in the planning and prioritization of infrastructure projects, including road development. This approach ensures that projects align with the needs and priorities of the community, leading to more effective and impactful outcomes.

Juba City’s leadership must prioritize road development and infrastructure projects to alleviate the suffering of its residents. This includes not only tarmacking new roads but also improving existing ones to handle the increasing traffic demands. Investing in modern and efficient transportation systems can ease congestion and enhance the overall quality of life for citizens.

Juba City may also benefit from seeking international assistance and forming partnerships with organizations experienced in infrastructure development. International cooperation can bring in additional expertise, resources, and funding to accelerate road development projects. Moreover, it can foster knowledge exchange and best practices for sustainable urban planning and infrastructure management.

In conclusion, the dire state of road infrastructure in Juba City is a clear indication of mismanagement and a failure to prioritize the needs of the citizens. Despite substantial revenues, little progress has been made in tarmacking and opening new roads since 2016, leading to severe congestion and suffering for residents. It is essential for city council and the relevant ministries to adopt transparent governance practices, ensuring efficient and accountable use of public funds.

Additionally, citizen participation in decision-making processes is crucial for identifying and prioritizing infrastructure projects that best serve the community’s needs. By prioritizing road development and seeking international partnerships, Juba City can revitalize its infrastructure and improve the overall quality of life for its citizens. Only with collective efforts, transparent governance, and efficient resource allocation can Juba City truly fulfill its mandate to serve its people.

The author is an advocate and can be reached on email at: oscarsgama@gmail.com

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