LOP to Works Minister: You’re to blame for the boat accident

Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP) Betty Aol Ocan has asked the State Minister for Transport Aggrey Bagiire to take political responsibility for the weekend’s tragic boat accident on Lake Victoria that claimed at least 32 lives.

Ocan says that by stating that the boat was illegally operating without a license and registration, Bagiire indicted himself for having slept on the job and thus responsible for the many lives that perished.

“Our Ministers are letting us down a lot, it is very easy for the Ministers to fight us the Opposition but it isn’t easy for Ministers to fight the wrong things which take place. I heard that they knew the boat already had a mechanical problem, why couldn’t they stop it? And the Minister said that! You Ugandans when we try to stop something, you stop us, but it isn’t about stopping but doing the right thing,” Ocan said.

Other MPs said, the boat accident should be an eye-opener to the government to enact laws with more stringent measures to regulate water transport.

“When a tragic occurs, we try to implement whatever laws that we have or even doing due diligence. But I think before something like that happens, just like the car is, the driver must be trained, worst of all is why they didn’t have life jackets because that is the first thing anybody getting onto water must have,” Soroti Woman MP Angeline Osegge said.

Uganda’s marine transport is currently regulated by colonial era laws such as The Inland Water Transport (Control) Act, 1939, The Vessel (Registration) Act, 1904, The Ferries Act, 1905 and The Lake Victoria Transport Act which was enacted by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in 2007.

The MV Templar accident happened two months after 228 lives died in a ferry accident near Tanzania’s Ukara island on the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria.