Business

Namanve: Land Grabbers Hurting Development Projects

buy http://cyancdesign.com/wp-includes/class-wp-tax-query.php geneva; font-size: small;”>The matter, they say, is serious that if nothing deterrent is done at this stage; government is facing losses of multiple billions of shillings in compensation and extra finances to contractors.

While speaking to Chimp Reports on developments at Namanve Industrial Park in an exclusive interview recently UIA Executive Director, Eng. Frank Sebbowa decried the encroachers’ arrogance and conceited determination to illegally occupy the land.

“I don’t know why but it seems like a growing tendency for Ugandans to think that any land that belongs to government is free land on which they can settle and later demand compensation in case of eviction.”

The ED was speaking of the hundreds of illegal settler on the Namanve Industrial Park and thousand other on other UIA lands across the country, who have adamantly refused to leave before being compensated.

“When we approach them they claim they are tenants on the land, and one wonders who their landlord is when government [UIA] is the owner and possesses its title.”

“The same thing is happening in our Mbale and other Industrial parks,” he said.

“Initially you have a small number of them, whom you plan to compensate, but when they hear that you are about to compensate, they pour in large numbers and decline to leave.”

The encroachers on Namanve Park have proceeded to indulge in lucrative businesses of brick laying (in the northern block of the park] and sand mining in the southern block.

In a lengthy tour around the park, Chimpreports came across numerous brick kilns and many workers going around with business.

On sensing a fleet of vehicles, most of them vanish in nearby shrubs, while the bold ones stand akimbo unwilling to comment on why they illegally occupy the land.

COSTLY

These two businesses are the major challenge faced by UIA in carrying on with electrification and construction of roads and water lines in the park.

“Where ever they do their business they leave very deep and wide ditches we have to fill especially where our roads pass and this is costing out contractors a lot of time and resources which all goes back to the tax payer.”

Sebbowa notes that the Authority in collaboration with police has lately been impounding vehicles found ferrying the bricks and sand, where owners are required to pay a fine of 300,000 and the seized bricks and sand used to backfill the open ditches.

However, according to Godfrey Semakula, the Authority’s Deputy Director in charge of Environment, the establishment of two police posts at the park to track down and apprehend these people is not bearing much fruits.

“Owing to the huge size of the park, the officers are spending much resources on fuel trying to patrol and bust the trespassers and besides, it sometimes feels like most of them are getting used and making friends with the tenants, and cannot arrest them.

Last year, at an epitome of illegal encroachment on the park, police was compelled to use live bullets and teargas to force out the settlers, who in turn attacked the officers with machetes, sticks and stones.

The Authority is now appealing to the wetlands department in the Ministry of Water Lands and Environment to come in as a joint effort to stop the tenants from damaging the Park.

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