By Pascal Kwesiga and Paul Mayambala
THE Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago has likened Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to the defunct Operation Wembley unit of the police formed in 2002 to combat armed urban crime.
The unit was renamed Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU) by the end of 2002. In 2007, VCCU changed its named to Rapid Response Unit (RRU).
However, RRU was disbanded over gross human rights abuses in 2011. The police said it disbanded the unit after RRU operatives were cited in numerous human rights abuses.
The decision followed complaints of human rights abuses from the public and a report of the Human Rights Watch that showed that some suspects arrested by RRU operatives died in custody at the unit’s headquarters in Kireka, a Kampala suburb, in 2011.
Lukwago said KCCA officials conduct themselves in a manner similar to the ways RRU operatives executed their work. He was speaking during a dialogue on the ongoing evictions of people who settled along the Railway line in Kampala at the Institute of Social Research of Makerere University on Wednesday.
“KCCA is now operating like Wembley. We are now seeing police carrying out illegal evictions under KCCA supervision,” he said.
“These evictions are carried out to pave way for a private company to do its work at the expense of the local people. The evictions are illegal because there is no legal instrument authorizing them,” he added.
The Nakawa Court issued a court injunction stopping the eviction after the exercise was challenged by some of the residents. According to officials from the Right Valley Railways, a company that will be operating the railway transport within the city, the court injunction is likely to delay the resumption of the services.
The Uganda Railways Corporation and KCCA want to revamp passenger train services along the Namanve-Kyengera and Port bell-Kampala railway lines by December.
The passenger city commuter trains will load passengers at Namanve, east of Kampala, through Bweyogerere, Banda, Kinawataka, Kataza, Industrial view and Namuwongo suburbs to Kampala.
There will also be passenger city commuter trains starting from Kyengera, in the southwest of Kampala, through Nalukolongo, Ndeeba and Katwe suburbs to Kampala.
Some of the encroachers have been settling along the railway line since the passenger railway services collapsed decades ago were forcibly evicted recently.
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Lukwago likens KCCA evictions to ''Operation Wembley''