"We Can Re-Develop Our Estates," Residents Tell Museveni

Published on 13th April 2009

We the people of Nakawa and Naguru estates/parishes in Nakawa Division, Kampala District have been painted as people who are anti development and determined to stay in the dilapidated houses of these two estates. That is far away from the truth.To the contrary, if it was not for the Government and Kampala City Council (KCC) in particular, our area would have been re-developed and improved by us more than a decade ago. 

Under no circumstances, have we been against development and improvement. We are for development and positive transformation of our society. We challenge the government to give us the opportunity and we’ll show the world how these estates would look like in the next few years.  

In 1995, during the reign of the Mayor then; Christopher Iga, concerned with the state and conditions under which we were living and KCC being unable to improve these houses, and at the same time basing on what had been taking place elsewhere regarding other government estates, pool houses and properties like vehicles, land and machines (giving opportunity to sitting users to own those properties), we engaged KCC, to give us the opportunity of developing ourselves. We were offered that opportunity of which we duly accepted and paid Ugandan Shillings Three Thousand Only (3,000 UGX) as a consideration for this offer. Legally, the government through its department (KCC) owes us a contractual obligation to give us the leases of the land we paid for. 

We demand our full, total and deep involvement in the development of our area, not just being mere spectators at best, or worse still losers. The Constitution gives us that right under Article 01 where it states that the power belongs to the people and further strengthened by Objective X of the same Constiutution; we quote “The state shall take all necessary steps to involve the people in the formulation of development plans and programmes which affect them”.We challenge the government to tell the world if it ever involved us in this project so called intended to benefit us. 

We have made extensive research about the so called developer, but have not found anything to show that they have ever done any project of any magnitude. With the very many so-called investors having failed Ugandans for all these years, mentioning: TriStar Aparallels, Lira Spining Mill, Shimon Demonstration and TC to mention a few, also given their profiles, we cannot put our plight in the hands of such untested developer(s), more so without any binding document involving all the parties concerned. 

The majority of us have lived on this land for decades with some having lived there for more than fifty (50) years. We even have members that were born in these estates and have also produced children here; there are generations in these estates. These people do not know of any other home, but the estates. 

As mentioned above, we have already paid for this land. Therefore, there cannot be anyone with a better claim on this land than us given the factors above. We have already started mobilizing our own resources to redevelop this area ourselves. In fact we even gone further and identified a financier who is willing to support our project by giving us funds at very concessional rates and under affordable and tailor-made mortgage facilities. 

Under Article 21, clause 2 of the Constitution, a person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of social or economic standing among others. In clause 3 it defines discrimination as giving different treatment to different persons. If we may ask if the people of Kololo, Nakasero, Bugolobi, Entebbe, Shauri Yako and Kiseka markets to mention a few, could be given an opportunity to purchase their properties, why not the people of Nakawa and Naguru? Even people from outside the estate such as William Nkemba, House of Dawda, Yashi Investments LIMITED, CTM, Dubai Terminal, Posiano Ngabirano of Capital Shoppers to mention a few; have been brought in our estates and given pieces of land free of charge. If this is not discrimination, then we don’t know what it is! 

Article 26 gives a right to own property either as individuals or in association with others. It goes further to insulate us against compulsory deprivation of property, or any interest in or that right, over property, except for good and genuine reasons. We do not think the investment or development that excludes the majority to benefit a few can be reasonable

for our deprivation. After all development that excludes people cannot be development, but something else. The President even emphasized this point very clearly and strongly in the New Vision publication of Tuesday, 31stMarch, 2009 (front page). 

We (tenants) petitioned the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to investigate the Naguru-Nakawa redevelopment exercise after seeing a lot of anomalies, underhand maneuvers and outright corruption by government officials and their own-appointed and self-styled leaders like Godfrey Kaganda. In short, the report the IGG made was ours. Article 227 of the Constitution, insulates the office of IGG from any direction or control from any person or authority. Also article 230 gives this office power to investigate, cause investigation among others. Clause 2 of the same Article, gives the office powers to give orders and directions as are necessary and appropriate in the circumstances based on its findings. Therefore, we demand for the publication of this office’s findings which will help in exposing the dangers we would be facing if the project is allowed to go ahead in its present form and manners. 

The NRM went to the bush to fight for the fundamental rights of the people and positive ideals of man kind of this country. The right to housing and being heard is one such ideals that were fought for. It is only just such fundamental rights and nothing more or else that we demand to enjoy. 

In the whole of Kampala District, it is only Nakawa Division that has an NRM Member of Parliament. Hon Ruhindi knows this fact very well that  if it was not for the people of Naguru and Nakawa housing estates, the task of him climbing to the Parliament and the eventually the Ministerial appointment would have been impossible or at least very steeper. If this is the way the government wants to reward us, it okay, 2011 is not very far away. We will wait to hear the President and his team and what promise they will give us again. 

In two different occasions; in 2003 at State House, Kampala and in 2006 at the KCC Grounds opposite Shoprite, Lugogo; the President met the people of the two estates and assured them of the right to housing and inclusion in the redevelopment process of the two estates. The President (we hear) is now pushing for the evictions of the people without even any contract paper that shows that the people have a guarantee that once the said estates are redeveloped, they have remedy in case the project succeeds or fails.This is a deliberate attempt to exclude the people from any development or undertaking. 

We do not have any faith in anyone to develop for us this area on terms favourable to us or this country. We therefore demand for the lease titles to our land and be allowed to develop it ourselves. We don’t understand why anyone should imagine that the people of Naguru and Nakawa housing estates are incapable of charting their own destiny. Is it because we are deemed the poorest of the poor? Or some people have vested interest in our land? 

Noting that we have already wasted over two years as we had to intervene and resist the underhand and illegal moves by Government officials entrusted with the redevelopment processes, and we will continue doing so until our interests are addressed and met. The current move by the Government is provoking us to take the same route again and we warn them accordingly. 

To avoid any further stalemate on the redevelopment of our estates again, here below are our demands which are realistic and not difficult to be met and thus leading all parties to a win-win scenario; 

1. Out of the total land area covered by the two estates, the residents should be given at least 73 acres for redevelopment by themselves. This will accommodate not less than 1,750 units/flats enough for all the residents of the two estates. The process should be accomplished within a period of not more than 60 months. The balance of the acreage may be given to the celebrated investors or for Government strategic development. 

 2. Alternatively, there should be compensation to the people in the equivalent of the value of the full acreage of the two estates as a second option to our first and for demand. Remember as mentioned above, we already have a legal and social claim on this land; the    people have receipts to that effect. In other words, we own the land and if    anyone wants it, he/she must buy it at the current prevailing market rate. 

3. Should the Government insist on developing the land, we demand for a comprehensive and detailed tripartite agreement that binds all the parties, hence, giving us security of not loosing out in case of success or failure of the project. As previously promised, this action and development has to be done in   phases starting with the empty spaces that are present currently. This will minimize inconveniences to the residents and will not need anybody to first leave the area before building commences. 

This agreement must clearly include the article of mortgage facilities for easy financing and repayment by the tenants as earlier on in 2006 stated and promised by the President. This consideration must be measured or stipulated in a stable currency like The Euro, US Dollar and British Pound. 

4. Given the fact that any other developer apart from us will be getting a very huge junk of prime land free of charge, he/she must offer the flats to the beneficiaries (sitting tenants) at subsidized prices. Such a developer must also have genuinely passed through the proper and official process and channel of bidding and awards of Public and Government contracts through such entities like the Public Procurements and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) Act. 

5. The spaces therein of each and the different options of flats must be clearly explained, indicated and understood by all parties. 

If the Government of the Republic of Uganda cannot accept any of the above, it means it cannot respect and care for its people and allows those in authority to manipulate issues  and satisfy their own selfish interests without any care for the interest of the masses. It also means that the President can shift goal posts on issues that he himself personally and publicly agreed on with the people. We therefore say, we will not be intimidated and coerced into submission. 

Let the Government prepare to bury its people for that will be the only way to move us away without our interests first being met. For they would have pushed us to the limits without even any last hope. We are ready to die for what is right and what is ours. 

For God and Our Country

Chairman,

Board of Trustees & Executive Committee,

Naguru-Nakawa Estates Residents Association (NNERA)

NERFmngt@gmail.com


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