What you need to know:
- State minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Mr Kabuye Kyofatogabye, refuted allegations that the government had paid Shs270 billion to the businessman for the land in the city centre.
The Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Ms Minsa Kabanda, has said the government has not bought the contentious 10 acres of land in Kisenyi, Kampala.
In an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday, Ms Kabanda said they have written to the government valuer to establish the actual value of the land owned by businessman Bosco Muwonge before any transactions can be effected.
“The executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) told us about the amount that the owner of the land wanted at first but it was a lot of money. His first price was in dollars. I don’t remember the amount but I think it ranged between Shs100b and Shs300b. I can’t estimate the value of that land but I want a reasonable price,” Ms Kabanda said.
She added: “The land was identified by President Museveni who wrote to us to negotiate with him (Mr Muwonge). We have not yet reached where it will be. We have left it alone and we are going to bring a government valuer to evaluate.”
Ms Kabanda said people who were speculating that the land had already been sold were wrong.
She commended Mr Muwonge for offering space to hawkers, who are currently occupying the land, and for paying their electricity and water bills.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Wednesday, the State minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Mr Kabuye Kyofatogabye, refuted allegations that the government had paid Shs270 billion to the businessman for the land in the city centre.
On Wednesday, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago told journalists in Kampala that there was a dubious transaction in which the government earmarked $100m (Shs370 billion) to purchase the land to settle street vendors.
Mr Lukwago said leaders in Kampala opposed the alleged sale, which he described as another cash bonanza for the cartel.
However, Mr Kyofatogabye said the land in question is private property which the government accessed on a short-term lease to secure workspace for hawkers who had been evicted from city streets.
“[Mr Muwonge leased the land to government for short time] as KCCA grapples with building two markets per city division as directed by President Museveni to accommodate hawkers and vendors previously evicted from the streets,” he said.
He added that construction of the markets would commence in the next financial year.
He further said: “The land owner and government agreed that the hawkers and vendors use the land during festivities for a bazaar. KCCA has not procured the said land.”
However, some of the traders Daily Monitor talked to said they were not aware of such an arrangement.
“How can we work from here only during festivities yet we have nowhere to work from?” a lady who sales second clothes and asked not to be named to speak freely said.
In an interview yesterday, KCCA executive director Dorothy Kisaka said: “ The Land in Kisenyi has not been purchased by KCCA. KCCA follows the PPDA Act in procurement of land.”
She added: “KCCA procurement processes require that for land to be purchased, it should be formally valued by the chief government valuer.”
Real estate dealers that this publication talked to yesterday said an acre of land in an area like Kisenyi is estimated at between Shs2b and Shs4b depending on its shape, location, neighbourhood, and the kind of business one intends to do.
When Daily Monitor visited the land in question, security personnel clad in black clothes were standing at the market entrance to guard traders.
Inside the market, several traders sat at their stalls waiting for customers whose turn-up was still low.
The market has more than 100 stalls and more are being constructed.
In regards to Mr Lukwago’s allegations that the costs of construction of various roads in the Kampala City Road Rehabilitation Project are inflated, Mr Kyofatogabye said the costs were agreed upon by KCCA and the project funders (African Development Bank) in accordance with the finance agreement.
He added that the Shs1 trillion will cater for the overall construction 69.2km of roads, 123km of non-motorised traffic facilities and the provision of street lighting.
“The lord mayor’s simplistic act of dividing the project cost of $288m (Shs1 trillion) by 69.2km shows how oblivious the mayor is about the scope of the project,” Mr Kyofatogabye said.