Kampala – Parliament has paid tribute to the former Serere County Member of Parliament, Patrick Okabe, who died in a motor accident alongside his wife, Christine Okabe on Monday.
The accident according to the Police report, occurred on the Mbale-Tirinyi Road and was caused by a collision between a heavy truck and the vehicle carrying the deceased.
MPs said that Okabe’s death is a reminder to re-enforce speed governors and expand roads, which they said will potentially reduce road carnage.
“I seek an amendment for government to reinstate enforcement of speed governors; this is not to insinuate that the bishop was over speeding but just last week we lost 84 citizens of this country to accidents,” said David Zijjan the Butembe County MP.
Legislators observed that indiscipline by drivers and narrowness of roads were the leading cause of accidents on the roads “We need action taken; our roads are a death trap. They are extremely narrow, the volume of users continue to grow and the roads continue to rot,” said the Leader of the Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga.
These calls to curb road accidents were made during a special sitting to pay tribute to Okabe on Thursday chaired by Speaker Anita Among.
Among re-echoed the MP’s calls on the state of roads and called for dual road lanes.
“What happened was basically collusion; the truck driver from one lane just went for Hon. Okabe’s side. If we have dual carriage road, we could be able to avoid problems of that nature,” she said.
Tororo District Woman Sarah Opendi proposed that government’s focus should move away from mere road construction to road designs. “We should have four lanes; two lanes no longer work because our roads have become a death trap,” said Opendi.
The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja who moved the motion to honour Okabe described the 64 year old legislator as an exceptional leader who served with integrity, a peace maker and a mentor.
“Bishop Okabe was a diligent leader who served his country with devotion and integrity and strongly advocated for women economic empowerment, human rights and the fight against malaria,” Nabbanja said.
Nabbanja said Okabe founded projects that transformed Teso sub-region.
The projects he run included, lmpact Ministries in Mbale City where he served as the bishop, Rehma High School in Soroti, and Faith Radio Station in Mbale city.
Busiro County East MP, Medard Sseggona, emphasising Okabe’s support towards the health sector noted that, “when we were pushing for rejection of the budget for health, he said, ‘let us not use the word reject, let us not use force, this is our budget, let us negotiate’; .
The Vice President, Jessica Alupo, called on MPs to emulate late Okabe’s style of leadership who she said was non-discriminative.
“He was a religious leader who could easily work with anybody; his mission intended to benefit anybody regardless of their denomination. He was a national leader. We shall miss him,” she said.
The Minister of Information, Communications Technology and National Guidance, Chris Baryomunsi, called for vigilance by road users during the festive season that he said is often marred by road accidents.
“When I was in the medical practice, you would receive many cases of accidents around these days of Christmas. We would like to appeal to all Ugandans that let us drive responsibly on our roads,” Baryomunsi said.