UGANDA, Jinja | Real Muloodi News | Speke Courts Hotel in Jinja, a two-story building still under construction, collapsed on Monday night.
Luckily, no causalities were reported according to the Uganda Red Cross team that was dispatched to the scene.
According to eyewitnesses, the building collapsed at around 7:00 pm, just as the casual labourers were finishing their day’s work.
A hotel administrator who spoke on condition of anonymity said there were six casual labourers at the site at the time of the collapse. She claims one of them was severely injured and was admitted to an undisclosed private health facility. The remaining workers fled the scene.
Morris Niyonzima, the Officer in Charge of Jinja Central Police Station, stated that they took statements from hotel management and tasked them with accounting for the casual labourers on site.
According to Edward Musisi, a resident, they watched the building fall but could not do anything due to the tight access to the accidence scene via the hotel’s accommodation area.
Police roped off the area to prevent unauthorised entry and pollution.
Herbert Zziwa, the spokesperson from the National Building Review Board (NBRB), a government body responsible for monitoring building developments, has faulted the developer for failing to meet the conditions of the building committee.
According to the board’s preliminary investigations, Mr Godfrey Nabongho, the developer, commenced construction without a building permit although he had earlier applied for it.
“The developer failed to meet the conditions of the Building Committee including among other things, having all stages of the construction being sanctioned by the city engineer, building control officer, health inspector and physical planner as indicated on the submitted building plans,” Mr Herbert Zziwa, the NBRB spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Mr Zziwa also noted that the specifications of building materials used were compromised compared to what was submitted in the design drawings.
“For example 4 iron bars of 12 millimeters were being used instead of 8 of 16. Our Technical Team has picked some samples of the building materials from the site for further testing. We are yet to interface with the Site Engineer who fled the scene after the incident,” he further explained.
However, Twaha Gishebi, the Budondo ward councillor who also serves as Jinja City Finance Secretary, believes the tragedy was caused by the use of low-quality materials.
Mr Umar Kitamirike, a witness, said: “The second floor of the extension first developed cracks, which gradually started ‘sinking’ until it finally crumbled to the ground.”
Before the extension’s construction started, Mr Kitamirike claims it was a bar section that was frequently used as a workshop until later, when the management began erecting a standard structure to match nearby buildings.
The operations manager, Ms Annet Musubika, stated that they are operating because the main building was unaffected.
“We are still operational. Police are investigating and nobody died in the course of the incident,” Ms Musubika added.
Kiira Region Police spokesperson Mr James Mubi stated that they are undertaking collaborative investigations with Jinja City Council officials and the National Building Control Committee.
“We are thankful that nobody died in this incident. However, one person was injured and is receiving treatment. On whether the building plan was approved, police are investigating and will give a report,” Mr Mubi added.
Jinja City officials including; Senior Physical Planner Charles Nampendo, Moses Lorika (Town Clerk), and Peter Mawerere (Deputy City Clerk), visited the scene but did not talk to the media.
The collapse of structures under construction has become increasingly prevalent in Uganda.
According to a survey by the NBRB last year, 88% of buildings do not comply with regulations in the Building Control Act of 2013, putting users’ lives in danger.
Substandard building materials, shoddy construction workers, and shaky site management have all been highlighted as key causes of accidents by the NBRB throughout the years.
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