Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA has asked the High Civil Division in Kampala to dismiss a suit filed by city lawyer Michael Aboneka against the authority for failure to install streetlights along the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.
Aboneka ran to the High Court on June 16th, 2022 to declare that the Ministry of Works and Transport, and UNRA “are in breach of their statutory duty and obligation by omitting to install streetlights on the Northern Bypass, Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, and all other national roads and highways”.
Through Thomas and Michael Advocates, Aboneka contends that the Works Ministry is responsible for the national roads and transport sector in Uganda and is UNRA’s supervisor. He explained that UNRA is charged with the responsibility of maintaining, managing, and developing the National Road Network among others, according to the UNRA Act, 2006.
The lawyers argued in the petition that “the darkness that descends on the said roads at night due to the lack of streetlights renders them treacherous for motorists and all road users as they are susceptible to accidents and has further attracted criminality, which is a threat and danger to the life of Plaintiff and all other road users.”
They asked the court to direct the defendants to install streetlights along the expressway, highways, and national roads across the country within two years and award their client Shillings 100 million in general damages as compensation for the grave inconveniences and dangers he is exposed to as a result of the defendant’s failure to provide streetlights on the said roads.
UNRA has, however, asked the court to dismiss the case on grounds that it is “frivolous”, “bad in law” and an “abuse of the court process” since Aboneka does not disclose a reasonable cause of action, adding that he also does not have sufficient interest “in the matter to institute and sustain the suit.”
UNRA says the Entebbe expressway project and the Northern Bypass “are some of the newly completed roads in the country and were designed and implemented in accordance with acceptable standards for Roads and Bridges and in compliance with the national policies, laws, regulations and industry practice.”
The authority also notes that Aboneka is “not entitled to any declarations, orders or reliefs sought” because among others he “does not in any way show what he has suffered even when he admits that he is a regular user of the said roads”.
The Attorney General’s chambers, which represented the Works Ministry also asked the court to dismiss the case, saying Aboneka is a “busybody whose present claim is trivial and an abuse of the court process, adding that he has not suffered any reasonable loss to justify court investing time and resources investigating the claim.”
The court is yet to set a hearing date for the case.