Bulambuli. The construction of the houses meant to resettle the first lot of landslide victims in Bunambutye Sub-county in Bulambuli District have been completed.
This paves way for the relocation of the victims living in the landslide prone areas in the Mt Elgon area.
When Daily Monitor visited the site on Saturday, the engineers said just a few of the 101 houses that were under construction in the first phase of the project, starting December 2018, are yet to be completed.
Mr Fred Tweheyo, the officer-in-charge of logistics at the site, said the houses were plastered, windows and doors fixed.
“We have completed the construction of most of the houses except a few on the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) site that we are now doing the final touches. I know by next week, we will be ready to hand over to the government,” he said.
Capt Martin Candia, a foreman at the UPDF Engineering brigade site, said the government should start preparing for the relocation exercise.
The UPDF together with the police construction unit oversaw the works.
The UPDF constructed 75 houses and the police undertook the 26. Each house cost more than Shs30m.
A total 900 households will be moved in phases to Bunambutye. Each household will have two bedrooms and two acres of land for agriculture.
The government acquired the said land, which is more than 2,800 acres in 2013, as part of its 10- year resettlement plan.
While launching the construction in January, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the government was driven by the commitment to end loss of lives in Mt Elgon.
When asked for the date when the exercise for the relocation will start, the head of communication in the Office of Prime Minister, Mr Julius Mucunguzi, said preparations are underway.
“There are arrangements being made to ensure that the first batch of the victims found to be at high risk of landslides are relocated but the date is not yet set,” he said.
Mr Mucunguzi said they are engaging other ministries including that of Education and Health to erect emergency centres before the people are moved.
He, however, said government will take over the possession of land belonging to the victims for afforestation once they resettle in Bulambuli District.
Mr John Baptist Nambeshe, the MP Manjiya County in Bududa District, however, said government should consider other alternatives of resettling the people at risk of landslides before the rains start.
Mr Nambeshe also opposed the idea of government taking over victims’ land, saying it will cause chaos.
“This is just a drop in an ocean. It’s like getting a spoon of honey and you pour it in the ocean and you expect the entire water to be sweet. There are many people who are at risk,” he said.
Mr Nambeshe also rubbished the idea of government taking over landslide victims’s land, saying it will cause chaos because people have not been informed about the decision.
According to the resettlement scheme on the 2,800 acres of land, which government acquired in 2013 to resettle landslide victims in Mt Elgon, more than 250 houses will be constructed on plot Plot 94, which measures 270 acres and Plot 157, which is 918 acres, will house 650 houses, while Plot 198 measuring 1,688 acres will be reserved for mechanised agricultural production.