Jinja residents have protested a resolution by Jinja Municipal Council to give away the land housing Main Street Primary School to a private developer. The 10-acre piece of land is located in the town centre. The investor - Green Tree Company Ltd - intends to construct a shopping arcade, hotel and hospital.
Residents were last Friday ordered out of the gallery at Jinja Town Hall during the council meeting after Lubaga Parish councillor Grace Akello moved that the session be turned into a committee to discuss the land giveaway.
When the motion was adopted, a section of people shouted and hurled insults at the mayor, Hajj Muhammad Baswari Kezaala, and members of the council, accusing them of having been corrupted to endorse the giveaway of the land.
“We came here to protest because we knew this council and other government officials were corrupted long ago. They are in there approving a giveaway that they know well the public does not approve of,” said Ms Winnie Nabirye, one of the protestors.
She also accused town council officials and councillors of having each received a bribe of Shs4 million in order to endorse the giveaway.
But Hajj Kezaala denied accusations of corruption against him and his council, saying it was not his council that originated the idea of giving away the school land.
“This was a recommendation that was forwarded by Jinja Central Division Council, which had already discussed the same projects because the school is within the same neighbourhood as the market and taxi park. An environment not conducive for learning,” he said.
An hour after calm was restored, the meeting reconstituted itself into a council session where it was announced that council had approved the giveaway.
Hajj Kezaala says the developer will be required to first build and hand over a new modern school facility in either a different location or on part of the existing premises before they can take possession of the said land.