By Brian Mayanja
President Yoweri Museveni has asked the Police to investigate circumstances under which parts of Centenary Park were sold to city businessmen.
Museveni, who was meeting the resident city commissioner, Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka and city executive director Jennifer Musisi, also halted all demolitions by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
Hashaka told New Vision that Musisi told the President that Godfrey Nyakaana, the Central Division mayor, leased the seven-acre park to different people at about sh1.5b ($600,000).
He said Musisi also told the President that Nyakaana did not want to face the law because he belongs to the NRM.
However, Nyakaana refuted the allegations.
“How can I sell land which does not belong to me? I am not a shareholder in Nalongo Estates Ltd,” he said on Thursday.
Nalongo Estates Limited, a private firm owned by Sarah Kizito, Sarah Babirye and Aisha Kizito, acquired a 10-year contract from Kampala City Council (KCC) in 2006, to develop the area into a modern recreational park. Kizito is Nyakaana’s wife, while the other two are her relatives.
According to the contract, the developer had to ensure that no permanent structures were constructed in the park, other than those components which comply with the environmental impact assessment, such as a swimming pool, store, office facilities, flush toilets, walkways and tennis court.
In 2007, KCC sued Nalongo Estates Ltd for breach of contract, after the firm set up illegal structures without its permission.
Last week, KCCA officers raided Centenary Park, where they demolished a fence and sealed off the main gate to the business area. However, the exercise was halted by trade minister Amelia Kyambadde.
Hashaka said Museveni convened the meeting so that he could be briefed on the current situation in the city.
“I briefed him on the recent demolition at Centenary Park and the KCCA leadership wrangles. There are also counter-accusations between politicians and the technical wing.
“I told him that the technical staff claimed that the Lord Mayor and some councillors were fighting because they wanted to continue engaging in dubious deals like illegally awarding contracts and land leases, like it was during the KCC administration,” he explained.
According to Hashaka, politicians accuse Musisi of refusing to implement council decisions, misconduct and recruiting untrained people to man security in public places.
He said the President promised to solve the crisis after the Independence Jubilee celebrations.
“He will meet Musisi, KCCA directors and NRM councillors,” he said.
The President’s directive comes at a time when the High Court has issued an interim order blocking the planned demolition of Centenary Park by KCCA, until a substantive suit before the same court is heard and determined.
The interim order, which was granted last Friday by court registrar Margaret Tibulya, also blocked KCCA from evicting Nalongo Estates Ltd or her agents from the park.
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Museveni halts demolitions by KCCA