Thought and Ideas
Illegal construction on the Uganda Golf Course
Posted Sunday, February 17 2013 at 02:23
The President, ministers, planners, developers and members of the Press should visit the illegal construction now proceeding by Hole 12 at Kitante Golf Club in order to fully appreciate the failures and corruption that are self-evident in the Kampala Capital City Authority.
The so-called Windsor project provides the clearest evidence that the NRM party has lost both the mandate and will to govern and in any event, may be it does not care about this country or its people anymore.
The construction is being undertaken against a chorus of protests and objections from all and sundry. It is proceeding on a strip of land reserved for an access road between the Golf Course and Plots 8, 9 and 10. A huge water and sewerage pipe runs under or near this construction.
There is no available plot for a building on this site. Moreover, the site is often polluted by obnoxious waste and smells from Mulago Hospital which choke the adjacent stream.
Some years ago, a developer started building a residential house in precisely the same spot. KCCA and the National Water and Sewerage Corporation forced the demolition of the building. Reasons were advanced for the demolition. It was against the City physical planning regulations.
It was being constructed in a reserved access road. The main water and sewerage pipe passes in the same place with residential houses on the neighbouring plots, the prohibition of this new and illegal construction is imperative.
Following the discovery of this illegal development, officials from the National Water and Sewerage Corporation and the Golf Club, formally and vehemently opposed the development and lodged their objections with KCCA leadership and demanded immediate stoppage and demolition as the law requires. The objections have fallen on the deaf ears of the city council officials. One of them, a Mr Joseph Ssemambo, responded to one of the objectors by stating unbelievingly that, “KCCA has investigated and consulted the police and found that no crime has been committed.”
This reason is manifestly absurd. Any student of planning would find this excuse laughable because a complaint against an illegal structure on a city plot zoned for different use is not a criminal offence but an offence against the city planning regulations.
Determinedly, the objectors met the deputy Executive Director who questioned Mr Ssemambo. Incredibly, Mr Ssemambo denied that there had been any structure on the site before that had been demolished. The deputy Executive Director did not believe him and promised to stop the development and order its demolition. This did not deter the illegal developers. The Lord Mayor was next appealed to. He visited the site and was shocked to discover the truth. He observed that indeed the construction was illegal for the reasons already given.
He considered the construction to be dangerous. He too promised that these illegal structures would be stopped and demolished at once. Witnesses have seen the construction of the so-called Windsor Golf apartments going on at night with armed guards.
Sadly, members of the Press continue to highlight minor differences between the Lord Mayor and the Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority but ignore the illegal structures and developments that continue to mushroom all over the city. This particular illegality illustrates the impotence of both the Lord Mayor and the Executive Director.
It is often said that when elephants fight, it is the grass which suffers. In the case of KCCA the conflicts between Erias Lukwago and Jennifer Musisi mean that the corrupt and corruptible bureaucrats are left in charge to authorise and benefit from illegal land deals and developments in the city to the detriment of the urban residents and the environment. As to NEEMA, forget.
If Minister Frank Tumwebaze, who is depicted as the minister in charge of KCCA, cannot act decisively on this illegality, he must resign immediately. If this Windsor golf monsterous blog on the city succeeds and Tumwebaze does not resign, it will be further evidence that Uganda is sadly sustained by illegalities and governed with impunity.
Justice Kanyeihamba is a retired
Supreme Court Judge. email@example.com