Bickering Threatens Radar Project in Nakasongola

5372 Views Nakasongola, Uganda

In short
The Air-Defense Radar, to be constructed on top of Sungira Hill, will be used to safeguard Nakasongola Military Airbase. The radar detects approaching enemy aircraft or missiles from a distance, and is often used as an early-warning device by the army.

A row has erupted between Uganda National Roads Authority, the Ministry of Defense and eighteen families, threatening a radar project in Nakasongola Town Council.

The Air-Defense Radar, to be constructed on top of Sungira Hill, will be used to safeguard Nakasongola Military Airbase. The radar detects approaching enemy aircraft or missiles from a distance, and is often used as an early-warning device by the army.

However, a disagreement has emerged over the construction of a 1.5 kilometer road stretch to Sungira hill to aid transportation of machinery and staff who will install the radar system. The road works, overseen by Uganda National Roads Authority, is executed by Energoprojekt Company.

Over eighteen families from Buruuli quarters village are at the center of controversy claiming that they were never compensated for their land and properties, before the road works.

John Ojok Onyabo, the LCI Chairperson of Buruuli quarters village says that a number of houses and gardens were destroyed to pave way for the road construction which begun in July. He adds that neither UNRA, nor the defence ministry has committed to the compensation of the destitute families.
 
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George William Bugumirwa, the chairperson of the affected families accuses the Ministry of Defense and UNRA of flouting land acquisition procedures before execution of the project.

He says that there was no negotiation whatsoever to pave way for the compensation of the families. Bugumirwa also faults the agencies for failure to conduct an environmental impact assessment before embarking on the works.
 
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The affected residents say they are determined to block the works until their concerns are addressed. On Wednesday the Nakasongola Resident District Commissioner Dan Muganga summoned the officials of Luweero UNRA Station, Energoprojekt, Ministry of Lands and local leaders in a meeting to avert the planned protests.

Ivan Onapa Opio, the Luweero UNRA Station engineer and James Mutabazi, a representative from office of the Under Secretary in Ministry of Defense expressed regret for the breach of procedures in land acquisition.

Onapa told URN that Ministry of Defense which is a beneficiary of the project has agreed to start the evaluation process and compensate the affected residents.
 
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After construction of the radar and renovation of Nakasongola Military Airbase, the Uganda People's Defense Air Force (UPDAF) will move its equipment from Entebbe Airport to the base. The Nakasongola Airbase will also be used as an option for cases of emergency landing.

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.