The weekend death of six teenage street children at Lohana High School in downtown Kampala when a wall collapsed on them on Sunday night is another dark spot on the operations of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). This now brings to an awful 15, the total number of people who have died in similar circumstances in the city within only two months.
In the first week of June, two people were killed as they sat outside for coffee in Namirembe and a perimeter wall collapsed on them during an afternoon downpour. Weeks earlier, yet another perimeter wall collapsed, killing seven people with five from the same family, in Seguku on Entebbe Road.
These multiple deaths from collapsing perimeter walls condemn as ineffective, KCCA’s Directorate of Physical Planning, which undertakes buildings inspection, and issues both demolition and renovation permits. And to the credit of Lohana High School, its administration had done their duty and alerted the city authority to this impending danger, but KCCA took no action or unnecessarily delayed to clear the demolition.
These series of deaths clearly place responsibility at the feet of KCCA.
From above, it should be now that serious questions are asked of KCCA, and to which they should provide concrete answers. The city dwellers should now find it hard to accept any more excuses from KCCA physical planners that the collapses are forced by downpour and poor construction because our planners are recruited and maintained on their jobs to stop such lapses and routine, or known and predictable occurrences.
So what has happened to KCCA’s mandate to ensuring compliance to building regulations, building inspection, and offering technical guidance on development issues, and issuing development permits?
It now that KCCA provides answers why a city authority with a full directorate of physical planning and development control team and fully staffed with physical planners, engineers and building inspectors across the city finds it permissible for these deaths to recur with obscene frequency on their watch.
Moreover, KCCA has to provide answers to its excessive delays in responding to life-endangering emergencies, yet the public more often than not, witnesses its swift and ruthless responses to enforcing city trade order.
In the Lohana case, a catastrophe that happened at 10pm on Sunday night saw the KCCA rapid response rescuers coming to the scene at 6am, nearly eight hours late.
Overall, most of the deaths in our city resulting from collapsed buildings and perimeter walls are avertable and KCCA should surely stop them.