An investigation of factors responsible for poor construction and maintenance of rural infrastructure.
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This study was conducted to establish the factors responsible for poor construction and maintenance of rural infrastructure in a decentralized system. Rural Infrastructure refers to roads, transport and communication, Commercial and residential buildings, water supply and sanitation services and rural energy established in a rural setup. The study aimed at determining the perception of stakeholders about the quality of rural infrastructure, identify and assess challenges to effective infrastructure construction in a rural setup, and determine solutions for promoting quality infrastructure development in a decentralized system of governance. Inadequate rural development is one of the most distressing problems in Africa. In a decentralized country like Uganda, rural development is a principal strategy for poverty eradication. However, it is reportedly unsustainable, due to poor rural infrastructure construction and a host of socio-economic factors. There is wide criticism on the quality of rural physical infrastructure delivered under the decentralized system in Uganda. There have been a number of reported cases of collapsing structures in which many lives have been lost, the most glaring of them being the Bwebajja hotel building collapse incidence. A numbers of many others are unreported. Such include: the frequent failures on Mukono – Katosi road in Mukono; Katera – Minziro road and Kyapa – Kasensero road in Rakai district; the collapsed hand dug well in Kayunga sub county Kayunga district in which two lives were lost in 2003 etc. In this study a Survey and four focus group discussions were employed in the study that involved 100 respondents randomly selected and 5 Focus Group Discussions that were composed of 47 participants. The study was carried out in five districts of Mukono, Wakiso, Luwero, Masaka and Rakai, all in central Uganda. The findings show that use of unqualified personnel, limited involvement of stakeholders, political influence and limited funds are the major causes of poor rural infrastructure under the decentralized system in central Uganda. Based on the findings, it is recommended that Local governments should employ technically competent firms with qualified personnel to manage the procurement and implementation of rural infrastructure construction. Involvement of stakeholders should be ensured right from planning through to implementation and evaluation of rural infrastructure. The funding should be improved to rhyme with the technical requirements of local government projects.