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Kajo-Keji traders demand for road repairs

January 6, 2021

Traders and residents in Kajo-Keji County of Central Equatoria State have appealed to the national and state governments to prioritize the rehabilitation of the 75-mile road connecting the town to Juba.

Kenyi Emmanuel, a local businessman in Kajo-Keji town, told Radio Tamazuj that traders have been finding it difficult to transport goods from Juba city to Kajo-Keji town and urged the government to use the dry season to repair dozens of broken bridges and the dilapidated road before the commencement of the rains this year.

“The roads are bad, the bridges are all broken down and during the rainy season, trucks can spend over one week before reaching Juba and the road connecting Kajo-Keji through Morobo to Yei is not operational due to insecurity and we want the national and state governments to work on these roads so that people feel the Government is close to the people,” Kenyi said.

Gloria Modong, a resident in Mere area, said several pregnant women in the area are suffering without access to antenatal care due to the poor road network linking Kajo-Keji County to Juba and other neighbouring counties. She added that local businesswomen are forced to buy and import goods from neighbouring Uganda at exorbitant prices.

“Due to poor roads, we are now buying goods at a high cost from Uganda and we want the Government to repair the roads because many traders cannot reach Kajo-Keji town from Juba due to the bad roads,” Modong said.

James Rudo, a retailer in Kajo-Keji town, said due to relative peace and stability, some traders have started re-opening businesses in Mere and Wudu downtown.

“Businesses have resumed in Kajo-Keji and they are operating very well but the challenge is that there are no good roads and at the moment people are renovating their previous business centres. Traders also spend several days on the road before reaching Kajo-Keji and once the road is repaired I am sure other traders from Uganda will come to buy goods from Kajo-Keji town,” Rudo said.

Another businessman in Kajo-Keji town, Charles Sapire, called on the government to ensure the rehabilitation of the mobile phone and road networks to improve security and business in the area.

“Networks such as roads and telecommunications are big challenges to the people of Kajo-Keji and we are suffering because there is no road network that connects us to the cities like Juba and Yei and these are some of the challenges retarding business growth in Kajo-Keji County,” Sapire lamented.

Meanwhile, Anthony Philip, the director for road maintenance in the former Yei River State ministry of physical infrastructure said the Government lacks funding to embark on major road rehabilitation.

“We appeal to partners like UNMISS to support us in grading the bad roads and fixing bridges connecting our towns in Central Equatoria State,” Philip said.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in the country in 2013, the Juba-Kajo-Keji road has not been repaired, hampering trade, movement of goods and passengers as well as transport of sick patients to Juba for medical care.

At the height of the conflict in 2016, thousands of residents and traders fled the area for safety into neighboring Uganda.

However, following the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in 2018, thousands of residents and traders are finding their way back to Kajo-Keji town.

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