Masaka Municipality has stopped the construction of a recreation center in the middle of two access roads amid escalating public protests.
The protests, which started on Sunday and went on up to today, were sparked off by plans by two businessmen who blocked two access roads to construct a recreation center and rental houses.
The businessmen are Mukalazi Mayombwe, a hotelier who blocked off Mbarara Access road at Kijabwemi and constructed a perimeter wall, and Musa Kazibwe another businessman who constructed rental houses in the middle of the Kigamba-Hospital road.
This morning about 100 residents again took to the streets protesting the construction of rental houses and recreation center in the middle of the road.
As a result of heightening tension, Masaka Mayor Godfrey Kayemba and Johnson Baryantuma, the town clerk stormed the areas and halted the construction work to calm the situation. Residents had threatened to set these structures on fire.
The municipal officials also ordered the contractors to raze down the perimeter walls to open up the closed roads.
Kayemba says they have stopped the construction because it is illegal. He explains that both businessmen do not have approved plans from the municipality.
Kayemba also says, in addition to lack of plans, the two businessmen did not consult the municipality before blocking the roads.
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Johnson Baryantuma, the Masaka Town Clerk says he is investigating how these two businessmen started putting up such structures without consulting the municipality. He says the structures would be razed down.
Moses Ssebulime and Drake Guloba, some of the affected residents say they have been using these roads since childhood.
Ssebulime explains that the closure of these roads means they have to spend about three thousand shillings more to first join Mbarara highway and then Sazza road before going to Masaka town instead of the 500 shillings.
But Mukalazi Mayombwe, the hotelier told URN in a separate interview that his structures were approved by the municipality. Mukalazi, who is armed with all the documents, says he will take legal action against the municipality should they raze down his buildings.
Mukalazi, who owns Laston Hotel in Masaka Town, says his construction plan was approved by Sarafino Eleti, the interdicted physical planner after investigations found out that the blocked roads were simply porous roads which are illegal.
Mukalazi says he has alerted his lawyers, Matovu-Kamugunda and company advocates to sue the municipality for trespass.
Hajji Musa Kazibwe, the other businessman also accused of blocking Kigamba-Hospital road could not be reached for a comment.
Currently, anti riot police has been deployed around the roads to quell any violence and to oversee the re-surveying exercise later today.
blocked access roads
masaka physical planning