UGANDA, Bunagana | Real Muloodi news | The leadership of Bunagana Town Council is embroiled in a battle over land issues with Techno Three Uganda Limited. The firm won the contract to build a Border Export Zone at Bunagana, the Uganda-DRC border.
On March 12, 2021, former Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde, and her Works and Transport counterpart, Gen Katumba Wamala, launched the construction of a USD 1.3 million Border Export Zone at the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo border-Bunagana in Kisoro district.
They awarded Techno Three Uganda Limited the contract under the supervision of KK Partnership Architects. The World Bank partnered with the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project (GLTFP) Uganda to fund the project.
However, on Monday, July 26, when the contractor started fencing off the 5-acre land to begin their work, it shocked the community to see pillars planted on their footpath, where the council planned to open an access road.
The pillars meant that Techno Three would fence off all the land belonging to the Uganda Revenue Authority, leaving no footpath for the residents.
The residents demonstrated demanding that the contractor leaves some space for the community access road.
They sought the intervention of the town leadership, including Mayor Ismail Ndayambaje and the Town Clerk Richard Niyonzima. The two leaders, alongside others, intervened and calmed the situation.
According to Ndayambaje, the access roads are necessary for the development of the newly created Town Council. The Mayor wondered why URA denies them the land.
“We are fighting for land, yet we are both government entities. Why can’t they allow us to have these access roads? They have even planted pillars in people’s doorways,” the dissatisfied mayor said.
The Town Council had proposed two roads, Gatsibo-Customs Road and Customs-Bunagana Primary School Road, within the boundaries of both the URA and some private land.
The Town Clerk, Richard Niyonzima, said they had written to the Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority requesting to use a small portion of their land to develop access roads within the town council.
The letter reads, “The streets pass through a tiny portion (North East & South West respectively) within the boundaries of the customs land but at its boundaries with the neighbours who are private individuals.”
The letter requests that they leave a small portion of land for the roads while implementing the One-Stop Border Post/Border Export Zone at the Bunagana border.
The letter dated March 3, 2021, noted that “the roads will boost business within Bunagana Town Council, widening Uganda’s tax base and increasing household income as enshrined in Uganda’s Vision 2040.”
The town clerk has not yet received any response from URA.
Mahirwe Claire, a Bunagana resident, complained, “Why should we fail to get a road? You can see they planted the pillars on people’s doorways, how will the owners get customers then? This is very wrong.”
Ndayambaje Moses, another resident, said, “They got the land from us residents. Our grandfathers gave land to the government and now the government doesn’t want us to get roads.”
The Mayor asked the residents to stay calm. He promised to forward the matter to high authorities in an upcoming review meeting at the construction site slated for August 6.
The Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Trade, Industries and Cooperatives, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and other officials will also attend the meeting.
The Bufumbira South MP, Alex Niyonsaba Seruganda, on Tuesday, July 27, visited the contested land on request of the Mayor and promised to follow up the matter with the relevant ministries.
A staff from Techno Three, who requested anonymity, said they would fence off all the land given by the client since they have not received further orders.
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