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Govt finalises plan to relocate Bududa landslide victims

By Paul Kiwuuwa

Added 17th October 2018 10:24 AM

A 10-year resettlement project for 100,000 people was conceived and it was supposed to be implemented in a phased style

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The undersecretary in-charge of finance and administration in the Office of the Prime Minister, Joel Wanjala, answers questions about plans to resettle Bududa landslide victims while appearing before the public accounts committee of Parliament. Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba

A 10-year resettlement project for 100,000 people was conceived and it was supposed to be implemented in a phased style

Government has finalised plans to relocate at least 6,000 residents victims of the October 11 landslides from Bukalasi in Bududa district to Bunambetye in Bulambuli district, MPs have heard.

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) undersecretary Joel Wanjala on Tuesday told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee that: “under the government implementation resettlement plan, the first phase involves relocation of 6,000 next week, these will be relocated in the 2,868 acres of land bought by government in Bulambuli district.”

He said the land was bought by government in 2014/15 financial year.

On allocation of land, Wanjala said each family will be allocated a 50ftx50ft plot of land for construction of residential houses in addition to two and half acres of land for cultivation.

“In addition 200 bags of maize floor and 100 bags of beans will also be dispatched to the area for the people to share,” Wanjala said.

“Government is ready to use reasonable force on all those survivors who intend to resist the relocation, the aim is to save lives much as they have attached cultural values to their area,” he added.

Tasked by Soroti Woman MP, Angelline Osegge to explain what he meant by reasonable force, Wanjala said: “Police will not beat them but they will force them to relocate or persuade them to choose between continuity with life or death.” 

“Funds were allocated for the project only in 2014, and that money was spent on purchasing 2,868 acres of land in Bulambuli district. The project was halted after we had graded access roads, physical plan approved and 900 plots of 2.5 acres are enough to host 6,300 people,” he added.

Wanjala and team of OPM officials appeared before the committee to answer queries raised by the Auditor General report of 2016 and 2017, however the MPs instead wanted to know the government’s plan on emergency response to victims of the landslides in Bududa district.

He said tumplines, tents, blankets and jerry cans will also be given to the people.

Asked why they had delayed to relocate the victims since they bought the land in 2014, Wanjala said: “We opened up roads, plans for relocating the victims, survey, registration of the victims was all done but our efforts have been frustrated by bureaucracy in government ministries to realise the funds.

Last Monday, cabinet approved a sh8b request by the relief, disaster preparedness and refugees minister Hilary Onek to fund an emergency response to victims of the landslides in Bududa district.

Over 45 people were killed and over 20 injured in the October 11 landslide in Bukalasi sub-county, Bududa district.

The resettlement plan was informed by the findings of the cabinet subcommittee set up in 2011 and headed by the First Deputy Prime Minister, Moses Ali. It was tasked with the duty of establishing the number of people at risk of landslides in Bududa, Sironko, Manafwa and Bulambuli districts.

Subsequently, a 10-year resettlement project for 100,000 people was conceived and it was supposed to be implemented in a phased style, with about 10,000 people moved from the landslide prone places to safer locations each year. The relocation exercise would cost sh8b each year and sh80b in 10 years.

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