Landslide victims: Govt builds houses amid ownership row


BULAMBULI. The government has started constructing houses on the controversial Bunambutye land in Bulambuli District to resettle landslide victims in Mt Elgon amid protests from a section of residents, who still claim ownership of the said land.
At the construction site in Bunambutye Sub-county, the foundation for more than 40 houses out of 101, which are scheduled to be constructed in the first phase by the end of February, had been completed when Daily Monitor visited last Friday.

Also three boreholes have so far been drilled and 10 kilometres of access roads have been opened by Bulambuli District local government to ease transportation during the ongoing construction process.
The building materials, including cement, sand and aggregate stones, among others, were visible on the ground.
The construction is being undertaken by Uganda People’s Defence Forces engineering brigade, the police construction unit and prisons.
When asked about the works, one labourer accepted to speak on condition of anonymity.

“We started constructing three weeks ago and the works are going on smoothly, I can say. The government has provided us everything we need to do a perfect job,” one of them said.
The commissioner disaster preparedness and management, Mr Martin Owor, said the foundation of more than 45 houses have so far been completed.
“By the end of February, the construction of 101 houses will be complete and then, we will embark on the second phase,” he said.

More than 900 households will be considered for resettlement from the districts of Bududa, Namisindwa, Bulambuli, Manafwa and Sironko.
Mr Julius Mucunguzi, the head of communications in the Office of the Prime Minister, said registration of the victims will soon be completed in the selected districts.
However, a group of leaders of the claimants told Daily Monitor that they are seeking a court injunction to block the ongoing activities on their land.

“We are aware of construction of houses, which is going on under the heavy presence of security but we are going to use legal means to block it,” Mr Fred Chemuko, the chairperson of complainant land committee, said.
Mr Chemuko claimed it’s unfortunate that government is using force to grab their land in broad daylight.
Mr Rashid Gidudu, another resident, said they will not allow the landslide victims to settle on their land until their demands are fulfilled.

Mr Nasinairi Nasasa, the vice chairperson of Bukalasi Sub-county, said the victims are willing to be relocated but appeals to government to settle the residents who claim the land.
“The government should speed up the process and also consider first settling the conflicts on the land as quick as possible before ferrying the victims to the area,” he says.

But, Mr Wilson Watila, the chairperson of Bududa District, said the government should speed up the construction, saying the displaced victims are living in deplorable conditions.
“The relocation should not delay but it’s pertinent that before the victims are relocated, all the facilities should be in place,” he said.

The resettlement scheme on the 2,800 acres of land, which government acquired in 2013 to resettle landslide victims, is being developed on Plot 94 measuring 270 acres (250 houses), Plot 157, which is 918 acres (650 houses), while Plot 198 measuring 1,688 acres will be reserved for mechanised agricultural production.

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