Residents of Katabi and Manyango housing estates on Sunday expressed worry over government plans to set up modern housing units saying this could be a ploy to evict them without considering them as sitting tenants to buy finished homes.
Led by Katabi Housing Estate chairman William Mutashaba, the residents said Entebbe Municipal Council should let them own the land and then vacate peacefully to let government construct modern housing estates without any worries.
“We are not against the development, as we consult, we would want the council to at least let us own the land and we develop the estates together without fears that one could betray the other,” Mr Mutashaba said.
One of the residents, Mr Sam Kyuka, said government is fond of sweet-talking tenants but delays projects until people forget and stop pursing their cause. “Ever since Naguru estates were fenced off, are there hopes that former tenants will be given the opportunity to occupy them when they are ready?” he asked, adding: “Entebbe told them to renew their tenancy annually, a situation that could also make it hard to be rightful tenants by the time the project ends.”
However, Entebbe Mayor Vincent Kayanja said Entebbe has a housing deficit that the project intends to address. He said theministry of Lands signed a deal with National Housing Corporation, Water and Sanitation Africa and Exim Bank in Asia to construct 1,000 modern housing units in Entebbe.
“The move would see Entebbe Municipal Council change from the old resolution of selling off the housing estates to modernising them to increase Entebbe Municipal Council’s revenue base,” Mr Kayanja said.
He added that the new arrangement will see sitting tenants get condominium titles of the housing units and that government will get rent from other apartments because the master plan is to set up five-storey buildings per unit.
Residents’ fear development over eviction
The fear for eviction by residents of Katabi and Manyango housing estates is not in isolation.
Last year, Kasokoso in Kireka, Wakiso District last year protested following rumours they faced eviction over National Housing and Construction Corporation (NHCC) plans to develop 380 acres of land into a housing estate.
Following the riots in the area and the arrest of at least 30 residents who protested the plan by NHCC to survey and demarcate the land, government assured the residents that they would not be evicted.
NHCC plans to construct 3,000 units at Kasokoso, in a move which the corporation said was geared towards upgrading slums around Kampala city into modern housing esates.
Lands minister Daudi Migereko said the move was one of the government’s plans to improve people’s standards of living by curbing high housing shortage in the country, which stands at over 1.6 million housing units.