KCCA delayed to approve demolition of collapsed wall, says Lohana school

Tuesday June 25 2019

The scene. A traffic police officer (left)

The scene. A traffic police officer (left) walks past the collapsed Perimeter wall at Lohana Academy in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI 

By AMOS NGWOMOYA

Kampala. Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) delayed to clear Lohana Academy to demolish the wall on Old Kampala Road, which collapsed in the wee hours yesterday, killing at least six street children and two severely injured, the headmaster, Mr John Bosco Mutebi, said.
Mr Mutebi, who addressed journalists yesterday at the scene, said the school had sealed off the wall and warned motorists against parking nearby because it had developed cracks.
“We wrote to KCCA about our plans to demolish that collapsed wall so that we could erect a new one but they did not. We were still waiting for clearance until it finally collapsed this morning [yesterday]. We can’t therefore be held responsible,” he said.

KCCA’s role
KCCA, through its directorate of physical planning, is mandated to regulate development across the city among which is issuance of development permits.
The permits include job cards, hoarding, chain link, renovation, demolition, excavation, occupation, telecom masts, and building inspection.
Mr Mutebi tasked KCCA to always ensure responsiveness in case one wants to develop their land.
When asked about Mr Mutebi’s claim, the physical planner for Kampala Central Division, Mr Villey Agaba, said KCCA was planning to demolish the wall. Mr Agaba attributed the collapse of the wall to rain.
“We have now decided to demolish the entire boundary wall for fear of reoccurrence of the same tragedy because it has since outlived its usefulness,” he told Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday.
Asked about why the city still has old structures, Mr Agaba said they have since earmarked old buildings for demolition. He, however, implored members of the public to always alert authorities in case they identify any old structure.
Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Patrick Onyango confirmed the death of the six children and two causalities and said they were working with KCCA to prepare for their burial.
Mr Onyango identified the deceased as; Frank Ojula, Brian Ogwal, Bonny Omara, Richard Odong, Ivan (other name not known) and one unidentified child of Kenyan nationality while the injured are Kennedy Okello and the other identified as only Okello.
The injured, Mr Onyango said, are admitted to Mulago hospital.
Yesterday afternoon, people were still thronging the place to witness the demolishing the remaining wall.
Yesterday’s tragedy brings the number of people, whose death has been caused by collapsed walls to 15 in a space of two months.
Out of nine people, who died last week, seven were from Seguku while two were in Namasuba in Wakiso. The other two died from Namirembe Guest House in Rubaga Division when the roof of the guest house collapsed.
How the children met their death
The children had spent their evening in Kisenyi, where they usually hang before they return to Old Kampala Road to sleep.
David Akampurira, 16, a street child, told Daily Monitor that when he and 10 others returned after they were allegedly chased by Local Defence Unit personnel, they chose to find refuge near the Lohana Academy boundary on Old Kampala Road.
He said Old Kampala Road was one of the areas where they seek accommodation especially when they are chased from Kisenyi.

Eyewitnesses speak out
William Mujasi, one of the boda boda cyclists, who operates at Pride Theatre stage, said the deceased were regular at their stage, adding that they usually did menial jobs.
“When we reached the scene, we were stranded at first because it was hard to retrieve the bodies. We later managed to retrieve two dead bodies until police came. A bulldozer was later brought to clear the debris under which the boys were buried. It was harrowing to see bodies of the young boys whom we knew, lying lifeless,” he said.
Mr Mujasi blamed police for arriving at the scene 30 minutes later than the alert.

Eyewitnesses speak out

Old Kampala Road which stretches off Namirembe road, never goes to sleep as there are bustling bar businesses of Ethiopians and Eritreans.

William Mujasi, one of the Boda boda cyclists who operates at Pride theatre stage said that the deceased children were a regular at their stage, adding that they usually did menial jobs for the Eritreans and Ethiopians.

He said that when the wall collapsed, he and other cyclists rushed there to ascertain whether the boys were safe, only to find out that some had been smashed.

“When we reached the scene, we were stranded at first because it was hard to retrieve the bodies. We later managed to retrieve two dead bodies until police came. A bulldozer was later brought to clear the debris under which the boys were buried. It was a harrowing scenario to see bodies of the young boys whom we knew, lying lifeless,” he said.

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But Mr Mujasi blamed Police for arriving at the scene 30 minutes late despite their effort to reach out to them at Old Kampala police station.

Law on street children

KCCA recently drafted The Child Protection Ordinance 2019 to curb the influx of street children in the city. When finally passed into law, any one who dare gives a street child money or food shall either pay a fine of Shs40, 000 or be arrested.

Similarly, any parent who allows their children to go on streets shall also be arrested or pay a fine. This law was triggered by a growing number of street children, some of whom have turned out to be criminals.

Government through the ministry of gender and KCCA recently announced a crackdown on street children and rehabilitate them. However, the plan is yet to be enforced.

Mr Onyango told Daily Monitor that preparations to rehabilitate street children are underway but he declined to offer details on when the exercise would commence.

street children

The law. KCCA recently drafted The Child Protection Ordinance 2019 to curb the influx of street children in the city. When finally passed into law, any one who dare gives a street child money or food shall either pay a fine of Shs40, 000 or be arrested.
Similarly, any parent who allows their children to go on streets shall also be arrested or pay a fine.

Rehabilitation. Government through the ministry of Gender and KCCA recently announced a crackdown on street children to rehabilitate them. However, the plan is yet to be enforced.
Mr Onyango told Daily Monitor that preparations to rehabilitate street children are underway but he declined to offer details on when the exercise would commence.

angwomoya@ug.nationmedia.com

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