Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) council meeting on Wednesday resolved to halt the demolition of all illegal structures in the city until a probe is conducted on which structures must be demolished.
The resolution was reached after the Rubaga North councillor, Abubakar Kawalya challenged the manner in which operations are being conducted arguing that KCCA enforcement team does not notify the owners of the structures before demolishing them.
Parliament. Only four months into the construction of the new chambers of Parliament, a fresh row between Kampala Capital City Authority and the Uganda Land Commission has erupted.
The fight is about the ownership of the Chogm Monument Park, with KCCA expressing fear that the ongoing construction will encroach on other property not owned by Parliament.
However, the Uganda Land Commissio has protested KCCA position, also claiming the same property and pledging to stand with Parliament in the construction of the chambers.
Earlier, KCCA director in charge of physical planning, Mr Moses Atwine, wrote to Parliament requesting the construction works to be halted.
In his letter dated November 22, Mr Atwine stated that, “there is an existing National Water and Sewerage Corporation main line right within the construction area which has been exposed by the extended excavations.”
This, Mr Atwine said, besides contravening the Water Act, stands “as an eminent danger of disrupting water supply to the Central Business District [once] the pipes are tampered with.”
He further stressed that Parliament has never been authorised by KCCA to make any alterations, not even to use any neighbouring property for the development.
The move by KCCA forced Parliament to seek redress from the Uganda Land Commission and secured several commitments, among them, a new certificate of ownership.
The Parliament director of communications and public affairs, Mr Chris Obore, told Daily Monitor yesterday that KCCA concerns had been put to rest by the Uganda Land Commission. “Chogm Monument Park belongs to the Uganda Land Commission, KCCA has no permission or authorisation to give to Parliament,” Mr Obore said.
“We get so many visitors and you find that Parliament is so squeezed yet the open place (Chogm Park) is available,” he added.
The chairperson of Uganda Land Commission, Mr Baguma Isoke, in a November 23 letter to the Speaker, said it was clear the land under contest is public land and an extension of Parliament grounds, to which he committed to issue a new title.
“I am taking steps to survey that piece of land [and] produce deed plans and issue a new certificate of Title with the ownership being Uganda Land Commission,” reads the commitment in part.
In another letter written on the same date, Mr Isoke asked the permanent secretary, ministry of Lands, Housing to immediately survey the land and produce title deeds.
Whereas KCCA claims that the land does not belong to Parliament, Mr Isoke said that the Authority was driving in a wrong lane, since the land initially belonged to the Ministry of Finance.
“I wish to clarify that during the re-design of the road system around Parliament building, former Police headquarters and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, part of Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road was blocked off from the Crested Towers round about,” Mr Isoke stated.
In the latest development, Parliament has instructed its construction consultant, Ms Ssentongo and Partners for “appropriate action and information so that the work is not interrupted.” By press time, KCCA was yet to respond to our requests on their next course of action.
Mr Moses Kyeseka, the owner of the building on Makerere Hill Road that collapsed on Tuesday and killed four people, used a plan that had not been approved by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), officials have revealed.
The KCCA director of engineering, Mr Andrew Kitaka, told journalists near the rubble of the collapsed building that Mr Kyeseka submitted his plan in 2009 but was never allowed to continue with the construction.
“For KCCA to give you a permit, your engineer must be registered with an institute of professional engineers because some people pretend to be engineers yet they don’t have skills. We advised Mr Kyeseka to first get our approval but he couldn’t understand,” Mr Kitaka said.
He said that the owner of the building would be investigated and brought to book. It was not possible to reach Mr Kyeseka who has since the incident been inaccessible on his mobile phone.
At least four people have been confirmed dead and nine admitted to Mulago Hospital with serious injuries, according to Mr Joseph Mugisha, the Director Fire Rescue team of the Uganda Police.
KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi inspected the site yesterday morning but did not make any remarks. Later, the Kampala Lord Mayor, Mr Eriasa Lukwago, inspected the scene where the rescue team was still digging through the rabble to find survivors.
The Lord Mayor castigated KCCA engineers, saying the continued collapse of city buildings is a black spot on their competence. “Many city buildings don’t meet the standards and this problem is particularly caused by the Directorate of Engineering at KCCA, who don’t take time to study the plans presented to them. These are the things I have always been complaining about and now that my office is still locked, I can’t do anything to rectify such problems,” said Mr Lukwago.
Mr Lukwago said KCCA doesn’t have enough capacity to respond to such calamities which need urgent intervention. In defence, Mr Kitaka noted that there are many construction sites in the city yet the directorate has only four engineers.
The Chairman of Engineers Registration Board, Dr Michael Odongo, said the building collapsed due to poor workmanship. He explained that the materials used did not meet specifications for such a high-rise building.
Mr Odongo urged property developers to always seek professional support to avoid such losses.
The Head of Department, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, Prof Henry Alinaitwe said that the building had poor design and a poor foundation. He added that there was spillage of water from the ground which could have contributed to the collapse of the building.
Mr Abdallah Ssenyonjo, a boda-boda cyclist who works at the nearby Ham Towers stage, told Daily Monitor that this building had developed cracks and that residents had been warned on several occasions to vacate it but in vain.
July 2011. Seven people sustained injuries after a building under construction collapsed in the city suburb of Ntinda.
July 2012. Two construction workers were killed when a building under construction on Lugogo Bypass collapsed.
July 2013. Nice Time Arcade, Nakivubo Mews, collapsed leaving 10 people injured.
January 26, 2016.Two people died and and five others sustained injuries when a building under construction on Luwum street in the city centre collapsed
"The demolitions have left people homeless because KCCA doesn't give notices to them before they carry out the exercise," he said.
Mr Kawaalya noted that before demolitions are conducted, there must be a timetable with clear guidelines about how buildings must be demolished.
However, Mr Samuel Serunkuuma, the KCCA Acting executive director told council that the technical team will stop the demolitions for two weeks as they work with the committee on legal affairs and physical planning to come up with a full list of buildings that ought to be brought down, pending investigations of claims of illegal demolitions.
"For now, the demolitions can stop as we look into the matter comprehensively with the responsible committees. I am sure we shall have finished this in the next two weeks so that we can have a full report on illegal structures," he said.
When the Lord Mayor, Mr Erias Lukwago asked Mr Serunkuuma why some illegal structures in the city keep cropping up, he said that some developers defy laws and hence carry out construction works at night.
He was however, quick to admit that they resolved to demolish them too.
Meanwhile, for the old buildings which were constructed illegally, Mr Sserunkuuma said this would require a court order to have them demolished.