By Mary Karugaba
The National Housing and Construction Corporation (NHCC) will compensate the residents currently living on its disputed land at Kasokoso in Kireka, Wakiso district.
Led by the Corporation acting Chief Executive Officer Henry Balwanyi, the team told MPs on Physical Infrastructure that according to the new developed comprehensive resettlement plan for Kasokoso, the residents will be compensated after the evaluation of the properties.
Those who may wish to stay and acquire houses within the redeveloped housing project will also be given first priority, according to the project development manager David Wanangwe.
“According to our plan, people who do not want to be part of the project will be compensated and allowed to leave peacefully those who chose to stay, their property shall be valued and appropriate compensation will be provided in accordance with the Ugandan law.
Wanangwe said residents who prefer compensation will be paid and given a timeframe in which to leave the project area to create room for construction for those who chose to stay.
The officials were appearing before the committee to explain the Corporation’s comprehensive resettlement plan for the Kasokoso residents who petitioned Parliament last year over what they called unlawful eviction by NHCC.
The 292 acres of land have been a bone of contention, which led to riots in the area and the arrest of at least 30 residents. The residents were protesting the plan by NHCC to survey and demarcate the land.
The residents later petitioned Parliament, through their MPs Rosemary Sseninde (Wakiso Woman, NRM) and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kyadondo East, FDC) requesting the House to investigate how the land in question changed ownership since 1966.
Wanangwe dismissed reports that NHCC plans to forcefully evict the residents. He said the residents will be given the first opportunity to be part of the project but “in case they don’t want to, they will be paid and allowed to leave peacefully.”
Answering the MPs’ concern on the cost of the new Houses and whether the residents will afford them, Wanangwe said the houses will be affordable to all classes.
According to him, the Houses will comprise of those for low income earners, lower middle income, middle income as well as high income earners.
“NHCC and Government will help the poorest people access affordable mortgages which can be paid over an agreed period with banks. After this payment, the person will acquire a title,” he said.
MP Waira Kiwalabwe asked the officials to explain how NHHC came to own such huge chunk of land and also clarify the reports that the land belongs to the Kabaka of Buganda.
The officials explained that NHCC acquired the land through a lease of 99 years in 1966. They also presented letters from Buganda Land Board clarifying that the land in question neither belonged to the Buganda land board nor the Kabaka.