UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Hajji Muhammad Katimbo, whose Kisenyi building collapsed on Friday 2nd September, killing at least one person, is in even more trouble since his neighbour has pledged to take legal action if the Kisenyi tycoon does not agree to a round table discussion.
Mr Katimbo’s problems began on Friday morning when his structure caved in and buried three workers who were carrying out excavation. One died and two others were admitted to hospital in critical condition. Work on the property has since been paused.
Mr Aimable Mbarushimana, the operations director of Murwana J. Peter Stores Limited, a feed-dealing firm neighbouring the collapsed building, demands to speak with Mr Katimbo.
According to Mr Mbarushimana, Mr Katimbo excavated beyond his plot, compromising the foundation of his company’s structures.
He says his stores, which can hold up to 1,000 metric tonnes of merchandise, are now beset with dangerous cracks that indicate they would be unable to do so, forcing the company to find a new location.
Furthermore, Mr Mbarushimana claims that the menacing cracks pose a safety risk that may have ramifications not just for the firm, but also for their relationships with their business partners.
Mr Katimbo’s conduct, according to Mr Mbarushimana, breached the Kampala Capital City Authority’s instruction to respect the boundary between the two properties.
“Our neighbour came up with an idea of developing our city. When he started the construction process, he requested for the opening of the boundary, which was done. However, he applied illegalities. For reasons that I cannot explain, he went beyond where he was told to. Then they were then told to stop construction, but they continued until lives were lost. The excavation touched our foundation, weakening it – meaning anytime, our store is collapsing. We have lost our store, our security and lives are at risk. Our lives and those of our partners are in danger,” Mr Mbarushimana explained.
Mr Mbarushimana asserts that Mr Katimbo and KCCA may be working together to compel a sale of a property that they technically bought more than four years ago. He wants to speak with Mr Katimbo about this before they end up in court.
“I would like Mzee Katimbo to come to us on the table but if he cannot, we have assembled a legal team,” Mr Mbarushimana warned.
According to the company’s Sales Director, John Paul Kubana, the company directly employs 17 people and if the business is harmed, livelihoods would be destroyed. As a result, Mr Kubana wants to resolve the issue peacefully.
“Since the incident happened, our neighbour has not come to talk to us,” Mr Kubana says, noting that attempts to get in touch with Mzee Katimbo have proved futile. Deputy Police Spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan, Luke Owoyesigyire, says the matter is under investigation.
“All i can confirm to you is that the matter is under investigation and once the process is complete, we shall avail you will the report. For now, some details you want may foil our investigation process,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.
Following the incident, Mr Owoyesigyire stated that the site engineer was being sought. By press time, it was unclear how far the search for the aforementioned engineer had progressed.
On Friday, 2nd September 2022, authorities revealed why they immediately shuttered the site and halted work for at least six months.
“It’s a deep excavation with a potential of collapsing any time because all sides are vertical deep foundations which are not safe,” said Kampala Capital City Authority Council (KCCA) Deputy Executive Director Eng David Luyimbazi.
“I’ve been advised that this site was stopped maybe because of being unsafe but I am yet to establish the facts,” Eng Luyimbazi added.
When questioned about the causes of the recurring building collapses that claim scores of Ugandan lives each year, Eng Luyimbazi said: “It’s true that there is some reluctance in policy implementation but this site is hoarded off and sometimes we may not know what is happening inside.”
The Authority is now urging investors to follow the rules to prevent incurring losses as a consequence of such mishaps.
“It is incumbent upon developers to do what is right,” Eng Luyimbazi said, adding that authorities are probing the circumstances under which the Friday accident happened.
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