Municipal Officials on the Spot Over Illegal Buildings

2565 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
Early this year, Masaka municipality gave all landlords an ultimatum to paint old building and demolish all illegal structures by July or else council forcefully razes down the structures.

Four top officials of Masaka municipality are on the spot for failing to implement council resolution to demolish illegal structures. They are Godfrey Kayemba Afaayo, the Mayor Masaka Municipality, Achilles Kiwanuka, the Principal Engineer, Edward Kiwanuka Gwavu, the acting town Clerk and physical planner Olet Sarafino. Early this year, Masaka municipality gave all landlords an ultimatum to paint old building and demolish all illegal structures by July or else council forcefully razes down the structures.

There are an estimated 50 illegal structures in Masaka municipality. However, instead of demolishing the illegal buildings, landlords went ahead to construct them. Some of the buildings earmarked by council for demolition include Ssemwanga house along Elgin Street, Bitamiisi building opposite Hot Ram Motel, Pepsi building, Mubiru Building and Nabiimba House among others. However, Masaka municipality has failed to demolish the buildings despite the expiry of the deadline issued to the land lords.
Godfrey Kayemba, the mayor Masaka Municipality says they tasked the technical committee to investigate and take appropriate measures but he was surprised when the engineer instead allowed the construction work to continue. He says worse still, traders operating in the condemned buildings defied advice to vacate them.

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Some of the land lords have shown Uganda Radio Network letters signed by Achilles Kiwanuka, the Principal Engineer allowing them to repair the buildings instead of demolishing them as directed by council. Bitamiisi Namuddu, the proprietor of Bitamiisi building says she was given ago ahead to complete her storied building. She declined to divulge details. Sarafino Olet, the Physical Planner Masaka municipality has confirmed that the construction was approved by Kiwanuka, the Masaka Engineer, which is within his mandate.

Achilles Kiwanuka, the Principal Engineer and Edward Kiwanuka Gwavu, the acting town Clerk declined to comment on the ongoing works on the condemned buildings. The two officials told URN that they were authorized to speak to the media since they were not spokespersons of the municipality.  Peter Muteesa, a resident of Masaka Municipality wants investigations carried out to establish, how such building got approval. He does not rule out corruption.
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Late last month, 15 traders narrowly escaped death after one of the condemned buildings collapsed along Elgin Street caved in.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.