Just hours after demolishing property in Centenary Park, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) officials say it is the Authority, not the tenants, who should be compensated. Part of the building structures at Centenary Park lie in ruin after KCCA implemented an earlier plan to demolish them on Thursday morning.
Part of the building structures at Centenary Park lie in ruin after KCCA implemented an earlier plan to demolish them on Thursday morning.
The gardens are littered with debris of concrete, broken pieces of wood, and destroyed property among others.
Four KCCA bulldozers with assistance of law enforcement personnel and the police continued to tear down more buildings in what publicist Robert Kalumba described as regaining control of what is rightfully KCCA property.
Police commanded by Kampala Central Police Commander James Ruhweza manned the security at the demolition site.
Trade and industry minister Amelia Kyambadde, who briefly came to Centenary Park during the demolition exercise, condemned what she called the inhumane and heavy handed manner in which KCCA handles demolitions.
A visibly angry Kyambadde first confronted DPC Ruhweza and demanded to know why they were treating people like savages.
At least 11 businesses were razed down in the operation. KCCA officials say the businesses were housed in buildings that had been constructed in breach of the contract signed between former KCC and Nalongo Estates Ltd in 2008, for the construction of a semi-permanent recreation centre over 10 acres of open space.
The 11 businesses include popular nightspots Effendys’ bar, Kids Avenue, Chinese Restaurant and Garden Bar among others. The proprietors now want the contractor to compensate them as their four year tenancy agreement had barely gone for a year.
Grammar Sengendo, a tenant of Nalongo Estates and director at Effendy’s bar, says the demolition exercise has ripped him of his only source of income. He estimated the bar’s daily earnings at two million shillings from which he also employed 36 people.
Sengendo further estimates the 11 businesses were a source of employment to at least 75 people but could not estimate their daily revenue.
He now says that the bar management will pursue compensation from the estates company for the loss of their property.
Sarah Kizito, the director of Nalongo Estates together with her husband Godfrey Nyakaana, the Central Kampala Mayor, tried to stop the demolition exercise. Their efforts were, however, met by police directives ordering them to vacate the KCCA premises or else they risk arrest for criminal trespass.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sarah Kizito addressed a press conference at which she demanded for 20 billion shillings as compensation from the city authority, considering the current value of the property and for the tenants that were occupying the grounds.
KCCA legal head Michael Okua told URN on Wednesday that KCCA did not issue a demolition notice but rather a breach of contract notice which they expected Nalongo Estates to comply with or protest in the courts of law as the contract had no arbitration terms to it.
Okua said it would be out of order for KCCA to pay compensation to companies that breach contracts. He further added that KCCA should be the one demanding compensation from Nalongo Estates over breach of a contractual agreement.