The construction of six billion shillings modern market in Kitgum town council has hit a snag after the residents affected by the construction refused to vacate the area.
The construction of a modern market in Kitgum town council has hit a snag following the refusal by residents to vacate the land on which the market is to be built. In 2011, government selected Kitgum town council as one of the areas to benefit from the construction of a modern market. As a result, Kitgum town identified a piece of land in Westland parish occupied by 25 families to host the market.
The town council paid compensation to 21 of the 25 families and relocated them to another area. The council also offered to allocate the affected families lockups to operate from for 49 years once the construction is completed. However, four residents led by Boniface Okot, the LC I chairman of Westland have rejected the offer by the town council saying they are not ready to move.
The refusal by the four residents to vacate the area has caused panic amongst town council officials. Richard Ojara Okwera, the LC III chairperson of Kitgum town council says the council has made a very generous offer to the affected people. Ojara says that group has no reason for rejecting the project but wants to frustrate the construction of the market.
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Ojara however says all hope is not lost yet. He says they will engage all area leaders including Members of Parliament Beatrice Anywar and Henry Okello Oryem, the district chairperson and district land board officials to ensure the project goes ahead. Ojara also warns that should they will fail to convince the affected families to leave the area voluntarily they will use legal means to take the land.
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Michael Wokorach, the town clerk Kitgum Town council says that they sent a delegation led by the interdicted RDC of Kitgum Santo Okot Lapolo to plead with the families but they efforts didn’t yield results. Wokorach is however optimistic that the town council will succeed in convincing the families to relinquish the land to pave way for the construction.
Boniface Okot and his group have not yet commented on the matter as they could not be reached on their known mobile telephone number.